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Former furniture store transformed into arts hub

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A consortium of arts organisations has taken over a former furniture store in the Whitgift Centre.

Croydon Arts Store opened its doors on Thursday, September 28 to provide a visual arts and events programme with a focus on youth engagement and learning.

The four floors includes an artist residency space, a home for artist-led project Turf’s ongoing free exhibition and public events programme, plus a research space to develop a Croydon biennial art exhibition in partnership with Kingston School of Art.

There will also be a free bookable area available for young creatives to propose projects for the public programme.

The store is a collaboration between Croydon Council; Turf Projects, a Croydon-based artist-run contemporary art space that hosts free exhibitions, workshops and events; Art Halo, an award-winning organisation working towards the vision of making high quality art activity available to all; and Kingston School of Art which is recognised as one of the best art and design schools in teaching and research in Europe. The space was taken over with the support of the Croydon Partnership.

Croydon Arts Store is one of a number of meanwhile use projects being delivered as part of the Croydon Growth Zone, a £500m programme of works being delivered by the council in partnership with Transport for London and the Greater London Authority.

Jointly financed by the council’s Cultural Partnership Fund it will provide the opportunity to explore the role of arts and culture in a shopping centre to assess how they can be integrated in future developments in Croydon.

Councillor Alison Butler, cabinet member for homes, regeneration and planning, said: “Croydon Arts Store is a fantastic initiative and will add real value to the borough’s cultural provision.

“The transformation of an empty shop into a temporary art space enables activation and regeneration through art and creative businesses.”