Business and art communities grow together thanks to Local Young Talent
"We wanted to tap into the creative energy of the town and Local Young Talent was the perfect way to do that. The Tech Challenge funding from the council really enabled us to move forward."
Small businesses and the artistic community in Leamington Spa have forged links and are growing together thanks to a Town Centres Tech Challenge project funded by Warwickshire County Council.
The Local Young Talent project, delivered by production company Creative Leamington, held a month of events from May 1 to 31 this year - and its benefits will be long-lasting.
Twenty independent retailers were paired with local artists and featured their work in their premises. This meant that the artists' work reached new audiences while increasing footfall for the shops.
As the project gained momentum, links were forged with tech company RIVR, the University of Warwick and Leamington Art College. Estate agents Wareing & Co donated six empty units for the month while the Royal Priors Shopping Centre was also very supportive.
The project got the town buzzing - just as Martina Bussi and Chris Knight intended to do when they founded their small organisation, Creative Leamington, in 2019.
"When we moved to Leamington two years ago, at first we really missed the London vibe," said Martina. "But then we started to find out how much is going on in and around Leamington. It is an incredibly creative place and we set out on a mission to help bring that out.
"We wanted to tap into the creative energy of the town and Local Young Talent was the perfect way to do that. The Tech Challenge funding from the council really enabled us to move forward.
"We transformed the high street into a colourful showcase of creativity, highlighting local young creative voices and putting them at the heart of the commercial district. We used bold branding to attract attention to the windows and QR technology to maximise space and exposure.
"We blended traders and artists so that different people became involved with new things and it was brilliant to see. The connections that have been made will have long-lasting benefits for the town.
"As for us, we will just keep on trying to raise the artistic profile of this amazing area."
Warwickshire County Council's Digital Creative Lead Stacy O'Connor said: "I am delighted that the Local Young Talent project in Leamington was such a success. Creative Leamington did a great job in delivering the project and it was fantastic to see the way that businesses and artists bought into it.
"The Town Centres Tech Challenge has been designed to support digital initiatives across the county to promote our town centres as places to visit, enjoy and engage with safely. This will encourage the recovery of our town centres and help to stimulate the local economy."
To see some images from the Local Young Talent month in Leamington, please visit: https://www.creativeleamington.co.uk/lytfestival