A TRIO of Northwich councillors have donated £1,500 to a group set up to embrace the town’s artistic talents.

Whitegate woman Carolyn Shepherd, who studied at Mid Cheshire College’s London Road Studios in 2001, set up the London Road Collective just six weeks ago.

As reported in the Guardian, Carolyn hopes to gather mid Cheshire artists together and encourage them to think ‘outside the box’ about ways to engage with the community.

The fine art student said it would be ideal if the group was based at the historic London Road Studios, which will be left empty when the college re-locates in July, but said the wider aim of an art collective was ‘moving in the right direction’.

And her project has now secured the support of Cheshire West and Chester councillors Gaynor Sinar, Helen Weltman and Elton Watson, who represent the Davenham and Moulton ward.

Clr Sinar, who owns Gaynor’s Curtain Magic, in Witton Street, said the group could create a ‘destination for art in Northwich’.

“This is something we can make happen if we all get behind it,” she said.

“Myself, Clr Watson and Clr Weltman have donated £500 each from our members budgets as a set up fee for Carolyn’s organisation.

“I am now going to see if we can get one of the empty shops in town to act as a pop-up venue, as that is a good trial of what would happen when we ultimately go for the big art college.”

Talking of the future of the London Road Studios, Clr Sinar, who studied an A-Level in Art at Sir John Deane’s College, added: “Just to build one or two-bedroomed flats on the site isn’t going to achieve anything that is going to be beneficial to the area apart from a few extra residents.

“The community will get a lot more from the studios.

“I think sometimes art gets a little bit overlooked but it is a good pass-time because it relieves stress and it is good for your health and wellbeing.”

Clr Sinar said she was in discussions with governors at Sir John Deane’s and hoped to raise the art collective in a meeting of the full council.

Carolyn, creator of the collective, said: “It was a shock to receive the money really and see the council has so much faith in me for my idea especially as I haven’t been able to prove myself.

“It identified that they were just waiting for an artist they could really hang this onto.

“It is an opportunity waiting for a vision to come and make it happen.”

She added that a number of information sessions to keep the public updated with the project would be held soon, in addition to pop-up studios in and around the town.

And although the collective has been successful in recruiting members, Carolyn added there is always room for more.

To get involved, visit carolynshepherd.co.uk or email artiepartie@mac.com.

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