I own a high street art gallery in the heart of Preston City Centre in Lancashire, in the North West of England.
Established in 1988 with myself and my wife we have seen massive changes both in the art market and in the conditions in the High Street. The last 4 years have been a very challenging time for all retailers, but so far, we have managed to weather the storm – helped by the superb range of new work our publishers and artists have produced, plus the management of our shopping centre have maintained an interesting centre to visit with lots going on every week.
This year, 2012, is the year of the Preston Guild – an event first established in the 12th century, when you had to be a member of the Guild Merchant to trade in the town. Community and Commercial events have been going on all year, culminating in 10 days at the beginning of September – Guild Week (it was 10 days as 10 years ago Preston was granted City Status as part of the Queen’s Golned Jubilee).Guild week started for us by taking part in the Trade Procession – a 3 hour long procession through the streets of the city centre by many of the businesses from the city – at the head of the procession was BAE Systems with the nose of a Typhoon aircraft, which are made in their local factories. We were 9 floats in. The St Georges Centre towed the largest shopping trolley in the world, followed by a stream of the retailers each pushing their own, standard sized trolley decorated to suit their business. Myself and Wayne dressed as famous paintings – Wayne was Van Goghs Self Portrait with Bandaged Ear, and I was Grant Wood’s American Gothic. The procession was full of colour, bands, dancers from all types of business – here is a short clip of The St George’s Centres effort – see if you can spot us!http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RlFWse5Ii5w
Our website is at www.originalartshop.co.uk and our gallery is in the heart of The St George’s Centre in Preston