Windows of Opportunity - Margate, Kent
We have used creative ways to stimulate interest in Leasing empty shops, whilst at the same time creating attractive and vibrant shop-fronts, that focuses on how Margate can change to support a new 'Niche' Shopping experience, particularly in ‘The Centre’ and High Street.
The scheme is in the 'Margate Renewal Partnership' branding colours and illustrates how they are supporting local business and working in partnership with developers in the current social-economic climate.
Regional artists 'Total Pap' (who specialise in using recycled objects to make their artwork) created fun but representative images of shops that could be in Margate eg) Delicatessen, Oriental Supermarket, Kite Shop; Music Shop, Muffin Shop, Cheese Shop, DIY Store etc., through large-scale papier-mâché images, that will be set back into an enclosed window display recess (see attached photographs of Phase I). Lighting is not required!
According to the National Association of Window Dressers, window displays account for 75%+ of people going in to shops to spend their money. In this case we will use window-dressing to 'draw-in' new shop-keepers and encourage them to think out of the box and focus on what people would really like to see - not another 'catalogue' or 'pound shop'.
During the process the artists took on a 3 week residency in a disused shop unit interacting with the public and asked them to fill in postcard questionnaires, saying what sort of shop they would like to see on the High Street, we received 60+ that all listed numerous shops, with many repetitions of what they would like to see. Ten window designs were created all were informed by public opinion. The artists built up great relationships with the public, with many older residents ‘popping’ in for a chat each day.
We worked with property developers in The Centre, Margate to help us establish the project, by allowing us entry to all participating shops and providing a temporary studio. They also provided vinyl in the Margate Renewal Colours and matching paint to match for the header boards, so that everything matched and created a strong identity and was clean. This cost approximately £3,500 (in kind).
The rest of the project, including the artists, technician, graphic designer, vinyl installers etc., cost £5,000 Therefore the total cost to transform 10 windows in Margate was £8,500.
We have had amazing press coverage, locally, nationally and internationally and the project has had a fantastic response. Most importantly the local community and visitors love it. Since the project completed none of the windows have been vandalised. It really has transformed a small part of Margate and we are looking forward to completing more work in Margate and moving the project to other areas.