What’s inside former Debenhams store as new Primeyarc gallery prepares to open?
PUBLISHED: 06:30 25 September 2020
There is a lot of empty retail space to fill in Great Yarmouth’s former Debenhams store which closed in January.
Where menswear was on the left a video wall flickers, and in place of bottles of perfume, hundreds of studio-made pots picked up in charity shops line the wall.
Meanwhile, instead of handbags there is an installation called Outhouse, documenting one man’s “queer walks.”
And upstairs creative groups are moving in, as the beginnings of a collaborative arts hub begin to take root.
For Kaavous Clayton of original projects, the charity behind the gallery, it has the potential to be one of the best contemporary art spaces in East Anglia, providing a solution to the empty unit and bringing more people in to Market Gates shopping centre.
MORE: Even mannequins go as Debenhams prepares to close for the last time
He’s not sure what people will make of it but hopes they will find it “quite fascinating.”
“I am sure there will be very different reactions,” he said.
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“Some people will think ‘What is this all about? It’s not for us.’ Others might come in and discover something new that they have never experienced before and find it quite fascinating.
“What we want it to be is a place for people to come together and create together.
“People can learn new skills and look at the world in a different way and look at Great Yarmouth in a different way because it’s an amazing place with lots of people doing extraordinary things.”
The festival features a range of 13 artists, some working on a theme of migration and in various locations including Yarmouth’s Jetty and the North Sea in Norway.
The sounds of the dawn chorus during lockdown will also feature, chiming with how people tuned into nature during lockdown.
The charity has taken the store over on a three-year lease, with a condition it will move out if someone wants to rent it.
In a play on words said to celebrate “brilliance”, and the name given to Yarmouth’s residents, the project’s title Primeyarc also tips its hat towards budget retailer Primark - seen by some as the answer to all the town’s shopping woes.
And like its near namesake the hope is that Primeyarc will boost the high street and attract people from further afield, fuelling footfall for other shops.
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