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Bid to make Norwich's shop windows as pretty as a picture

PUBLISHED: 09:00 28 March 2010 | UPDATED: 09:12 02 July 2010

Mary Hamilton

As one of the top 10 shopping destinations in the country, Norwich city centre is full of vibrant independent stores with eye-catching window displays.

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Official Norwich 2013 bid website

As one of the top 10 shopping destinations in the country, Norwich city centre is full of vibrant independent stores with eye-catching window displays.

But as the recession took its toll, some storefronts were boarded-up and windows left empty, telltale signs of the economic downturn.

Now, thanks to a new cultural fund, the city council is inviting artists to revitalise the empty shops with a celebration of our cultural city.

Marion Catlin, the council's cultural development officer, said: “We want this project to be led by local artists and it's a testament to the city's commitment to culture and to the progress made over the last few years that the solution to this problem is to offer a showcase for art of all kinds.

“There are all sorts of ideas that could help to revitalise the city through cultural activity - a shop selling art and cultural work produced by local artists and writers, for instance, or an art trail through the city centre's shop windows.

“This is a great opportunity for the cultural community of Norwich, and yet another reason for people to get behind our bid to be UK City of Culture in 2013 to celebrate our community's cultural offer.

“Artists always have good ideas for creative uses for empty buildings, but rarely have the chance to put them into practice.

“This project will help artists and their work to take centre stage and reinforce the city's reputation as an ongoing city of culture.”

Stefan Gurney, City Centre Partnership manager, said: “This is a great opportunity to further address the impact of empty shops and present Norwich as a vibrant and thriving place to be.

“It is also an opportunity for people in the city to get involved in something that can really raise the profile of the city centre and we would like to hear from businesses that can help promote local artists and events in active windows as well as vacant ones.”

Norwich was one of the first places in the country to use colourful posters to liven up empty shops, and the city's approach is already recognised as best practice nationally.

Proposals should be submitted by April 20 and selection will be made by the end of April, with all installations to be completed by the end of October.

For more information contact Sue Tullett on 01603 212012 or email suetullett@norwich.gov.uk.

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Official Norwich 2013 bid website

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