Guest Blog; Art on the streets of Maidenhead

This little delight has filled the team behind Art on the Street with a distinct sense of frustration in the days running up to Maidenhead’s largest town centre event. As much as we throw our hearts, souls and heavily blistered fingers into raising the profile of our struggling High Street, a BBC-sized boot can kick our morale around a bit.

At times like this we find ourselves nudging each other and reminding ourselves of how far we’ve come…

In December 2009 there was no event programme in Maidenhead. In the last 12 months we have had two events of our own, a vintage fair, an Indian Art & Craft Event, a craft fair of locally produced goods and an incredible amount of spontaneously thrown together fun. Art on the Street drove these events and offered them advice, equipment, promotional help and support.

In December 2009 there was no pop up shop culture in Maidenhead. We currently have three pop up shops in Maidenhead, all occupied by local artisans/business people. Our local shopping centre has almost full occupancy because of this for the first time in a LONG time. Art on the Street began this through a long process of proving the worth of pop up occupancy to landlords.

In December 2009 no community groups were coming together with a will to make something happen. Except us. From Art on the Street was born Craft Coop, Windsor & Maidenhead Artists Co-operative, Fuhaar Events, Live It Vintage and many others. People began to volunteer to bring something new to the town. Our small idea had gestated into a living, breathing community With a pulse, body legs, arms and many many heads.

We’re holding our seventh event on Saturday 1st Dec. A 150-person-strong beast of an event with over 100 artists, musicians, performers, workshops in three empty shops, a stage, a BMW ArtCar and a HUGE gold picture frame that you can climb inside. Just for a bit of a laugh. We do a lot of that. And that’s why it works. Friendship and laughter.

Now read the BBC article again. Great stats, shame about the lack of faces.

Art on the Street began in 2009 with a shared belief that artists should be able to take control of the way they sell their work, outside of galleries and traditional art fairs. Since then, the Art on the Street Team have worked on street markets, community projects, and filling empty sshops with artwork. In June 2012 the first Art on the Street Pop-Up Shop opened.

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