MORE than 1,000 people are expected to visit a ‘pop-up’ art exhibition in the former M&Co retail shop in Trowbridge over the next three weeks.
The Social Scaffolding display has been put together by three artists who all studied fine art at Bath Spa University.
Alyson Minkley, Lou Baker and Juliet Duckworth have formed the Social Scaffolding art collective to tour the exhibition.
They are staging the immersive and interactive artwork exhibition at the former M&Co shop in Silver Street, Trowbridge.
Alyson, from Bath, said: “It is a lovely and beautiful space and we hope to see around 1,000 visitors over the next three weeks.
“It is all about engaging with people and, on average, we are hoping for 80-100 visitors each day.
“We were supposed to be going to Yeovil but it fell through and we could not find any other available space for the exhibition.
“We looked at Salisbury and Trowbridge and Trowbridge won hands down because of the incredible tenacity and support shown by Wiltshire Council.
“The council was really determined to help us find a suitable space. We have worked hard to clear and clean this shop, which has not been open since 2020.”
Lou, from Bristol, met Alyson while both were studying for an MA in Fine Art at Bath Spa University.
She says the Social Scaffolding exhibition has given her a springboard and enabled her to further her career.
Lou has recently won a Dreamtime Fellowship at the Spike Island art gallery in Bristol where she will be mentored by British installation artist Luke Jerram.
“The Social Scaffolding exhibition is all about making connections and finding joy in taking part in community activities,” she said.
Juliet Duckworth, from Wanstrow near Frome, studied a BA in Fine Art at Bath Spa and has put together an Urban Rookery display using rooks’ nests from her own garden.
She says the nests represent the need for security and safe spaces, and her display gives visitors the opportunity to build their own nest.
With £60,000 worth of funding support from Arts Council England, the Social Scaffolding art collective are touring the exhibition around six South West towns.
They have already visited Taunton, Weston-super-Mare, Gloucester and Shepton Mallet.
Now they are in Trowbridge until October 14, and hope to be in the McArthur Glen designer outlet in Swindon in November.
The art collective has also received support from Bath Spa University and its creative incubator Emerge, which is designed to help emerging talent by giving vital space, training, and meaningful support at a pivotal time.
Entry to the Trowbridge exhibition is free to anyone who wishes to come along to get involved or look around.
Alyson said: “It’s free and not like a normal art gallery with ‘Do Not Touch’ signs, in fact we encourage you to explore the artworks and invite you to get involved.”
One of those who was keen to help was Terayn Leggat, 23, a recent graduate from the Winchester School of Art at Southampton University.
Terayn, from Trowbridge, said: “I just wanted to come along and help out by doing some stitching. It’s interesting to get involved in a community project.”
Residents and visitors are invited to drop into the exhibition between 12 noon and 5pm on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday until it ends on October 14.
The art collective is also happy to arrange special sessions for schools or community groups.
Wiltshire College art students are expected to offer support, and Trowbridge Chamber of Commerce members will visit on September 28.