Let’s Talk Shop – A temporary artwork for the Arcade

councilllors outside the dewsbury arcade

Temporary artwork for The Arcade in Dewsbury has been unveiled in the Dewsbury Creative Town, Arts Programme.

Let’s Talk Shop tells the unique stories, memories, and anecdotes of one of Dewsbury’s most iconic buildings. The stories have been interwoven into two huge pieces of art. These will feature in the main entrances to the Arcade.

What is the history of the Dewsbury Arcade?

The listed building was built in 1899 and closed to the general public in 2014. We then bought it in May 2020 as one of our lead projects in the Dewsbury Blueprint. The arcade is currently preparing to become Britain’s first community-run shopping centre.

What is the let’s talk shop project? 

This is one of the first public art commissions in the Creative Town Arts programme that launched earlier this year.

The creators are Daylight Robbery. Dewsbury based, multi-disciplinary artist Aidan D’Abet and frequent collaborator Kelly O’Reilly.

The artists heard hundreds of memories and anecdotes after they set up a space for Dewsbury residents to share their stories at an empty shop unit in the Arcade over the summer.

Councillor Eric Firth, Cabinet Member for Town Centres said:

“This is another step in the right direction for Dewsbury Town Centre, the arcade project is part of the bigger plan for the Creative Town. Having an ongoing public art programme in place provides an opportunity for the council to engage positively with the community in a new and exciting way. I’m pleased to see the Arcade works moving forward and how public art can bring this important building back to life.”

Artist, Aidan D’Abet added:

 “When we started the public engagement it soon became very clear to us just how many fond memories people have of The Arcade. It was therefore important that the people who shopped and worked here take centre stage in our work.

Eating at Ann’s Pantry, buying pick ‘n’ mix at The Candyman, listening to music at Autys or Christmas shopping at J&B – everyone has a special memory of The Arcade in Dewsbury.”

The Dewsbury Creative Town Arts Programme is a £200,000 initiative in the Dewsbury blueprint to revitalise the town centre.

The arts programme, which is produced by Beam, includes a range of permanent and temporary public art interventions at various sites across Dewsbury.

The project will provide residents, businesses, and community groups with opportunities to engage with art and be involved in the commissioning process.