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Jul 20, 2015 2:31 PM ET

Archived: Hello Hoxton High Street: PEER makes the experience of great art part of daily life

iCrowdNewswire - Jul 20, 2015

Hello Hoxton High Street

PEER gallery comprises two well-proportioned, single-glazed 1970s shop units that measure 10 metres across and look onto the high street. When we are closed and at night, the shutters are down, creating a poorly lit, unwelcoming and alienating environment.

We want to say ‘hello Hoxton High Street’ by dramatically transforming our outward appearance. We want to be more visible and welcoming to attract new audiences. To do this we will replace the shopfronts with an elegant, single-entrance façade and install internal see-though shutters. This will increase footfall and gallery visitors and mean that our exhibitions are visible when we are closed.

PEER has been based on Hoxton Street since 2002 and has exhibited more than 50 world-class artists, many of whom are Hackney residents. We provide a range of participatory activities for our local schools and community groups, and have also commissioned a number of highly acclaimed public realm art projects locally and around Hackney.

What we’ll do:

  • Install a unified and well-designed facade to make PEER more visible and reinvigorate this end of Hoxton Street.
  • Create better external signage to attract more local residents and passers-by.
  • Install new, see-though security shutters to enable our exhibitions to be seen when the gallery is closed .
  • We will make the street safer and friendlier at night by providing ambient light through the see-though shutters .
  • Ensure high standards of build, including double-glazing, to reduce heat loss and improve our carbon footprint.

Why it’s a great idea:

PEER believes a vibrant high street should offer a range of services and experiences – shops, cafes, hairdressers, a library, a post office, green space and cultural facilities. This kind of diversity is key to community cohesion and wellbeing, and is vital to combat the increasing homogenization and decline of many high streets.

Our programme receives fantastic backing from Hackney Council, the Arts Council and others. However, since we moved here in 2002 our frontage has given us the look of a temporary ‘pop up’ space. Now is a great moment put down firm roots and to really strengthen our role within the ecology of the high street. By installing a new double-glazed and well designed frontage and internal see-through shutters, we will embed PEER into the local community and safeguard our place on Hoxton Street for the long term. Through the physical improvement of the environment, this project will stimulate a sense of pride and ownership and offer art as part of daily life.

How we’ll get it done:

  • We secured planning permission from LB Hackney in December 2014
  • LB Hackney are granting us a renewable 7-year VCS lease to ensure the legacy of this project.
  • Acclaimed local architect Trevor Horne is developing the technical designs for the façade to RIBA Stage 4
  • The application to satisfy planning conditions has been submitted.
  • Other local supporters inc. Arden TMO, Hoxton and Shoreditch Trusts, the Met Police etc
  • We have already secured support from Arts Council England, the Cockayne Fdn. and The Paul and Louise Cooke Endowment

‘Hello Hoxton High Street’ is the key element of a two-phase project. Phase One will transform the poorly designed and unwelcoming public realm space to the front and south of PEER by creating a pocket park and to install seating and lighting. This work will be taking place in the coming weeks with overwhelming support from the local community.

The new frontage and shutters for PEER will be a tremendous way to reinforce our commitment to making the local area a better place to live, work and visit. With the new facade and shutters in place we will also carry out upgrades to the gallery itself, including new lighting and flooring and the introduction of climate control.

PEER believes that the high street is the backbone of the community. It is a place where people shop and socialise, and can also be a place of opportunity and to discover new things. The arts can contribute to community cohesion, reduce social exclusion and isolation and make communities feel safer and stronger.

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