Having a PopUp was at the top of our list of missions when we started CBC. Although Camden is known for its cultural diversity and also as an arts borough with over 160 art galleries, it’s surprising to know that there isn’t a gallery that specialised in arts from the black community. As artists, creatives who live and work in the borough, it is extremely important for us to have representation in all areas of the borough. Being visible and inspiring the next generation of artists was our aim in having the Pop Up space to showcase our work.
With the support of Camden arts development officers like Suzie Plumb and Mike Candler and Sharon Wallace from the property team, we were successful in acquiring an amazing space on Heath Street in Hampstead. The shop was our first step to bringing culture and diversity to a very popular, but very white and middle class area of Camden. The shop was extremely popular with the locals and has gained a lot of positive feedback and support. Customers have been thrilled with new works and products by local artists and creatives from an ethnic minority group that they would normally never get the opportunity to see and support.
As well as supporting creatives to have such a prominent space to showcase their works as well as engage with a different clientele, the shop also served as a space to break down cultural barriers, to educate people about another side of the black experience and also the opportunity to engage and learn with creatives from the local community.
This was such an eye opening experience for not just the creatives who have met valuable customers and some are still working with them even after the closure of the store, but also for the local community who welcomed the diversity in businesses on their high street. We made great partnerships including 2 commissions of work for private homes as were featured on a podcast for Hampstead art walks run by a local resident.
We had 4 weeks in the shop and had 12 creatives/businesses take part, and had over 1200 people pass through the shop.
Feedback from shop customers and visitors.
“This is by far the best shop in Hampstead, we hope you guys can stay longer” Maria NW3
‘I love the diverse range of products and art from the different artists and it’s so nice actually meeting some of them in the store’ David NW3
‘This gallery is such a breath of fresh air and a change from seeing the same shops opening in Hampstead, love everything!’ Anoushka
‘I’ve lived in Hampstead for 10 years and have never seen a store here that represented my culture, as I walked by, I nearly missed the shop as I wasn’t looking for it and it had been empty for so long that wasn’t expecting anything new there, but I was caught off guard by the colours and then to see black women in there was really shocking. It’s just a shame that I will soon be gone, I was hoping to bring my sister down…’ Tunde