Microshops Ipswich, the innovative retail concept for fledgling retailers, has unveiled a new mural after commissioning an art student from the University.
Pippa Worthington, a second year BA (Hons) Fine Art student, won a competition run by Microshops, in The East Gate Centre, for a 3.7m x 2.4m mural at the Carr Street entrance.
The brief was to represent important aspects of Ipswich and Pippa’s design features recognisable local sights, including Digby the octopus, Portman Road, home of Ipswich Town FC and the University’s Question Mark sculpture.
It took the artist a week to complete her bright and colourful artwork, which will remain in place for at least one year.
Natalie Sebastian, head of special projects at Evolve Estates, which owns Microshops Ipswich, said it donated £250 towards materials for the artwork, plus also awarded a cash prize to the winner.
“We’re so pleased to have worked with the University on this scheme and are thrilled with the finished piece that is now takes pride of place in Microshops,” she said.
“Microshops is all about encouraging local, independent talent so it made sense to work with students on our doorstep for this project. It has gone so well we’re planning to run further competitions with the Fine Art department.”
Pippa said: “It was a fantastic experience, working on a project of this scale within a prominent high street location and having the opportunity to interact with both members of the public and the community of entrepreneurs who run businesses within the site.
“It is great to have a site like this in Ipswich offering such unique opportunities both for small businesses and for local artists such as myself.
“I am not from the area so it was a learning process for me; I had to go and research. It’s made me more aware of the history and the culture associated with the town.
“When I was working on the mural, people kept coming up to me recognising the landmarks and the things that are familiar to Ipswich, like Digby the octopus. It was a nice experience and the reception seemed to be really good.”
Dr Jane Watt, Senior Lecturer in Fine Art at the University of Suffolk, added: “When we were approached by Evolve Estates, we thought this could be a great opportunity for our students to undertake a professional commission and platform their work to a wider public.
“Professional Practice is at the heart of BA Fine Art at University of Suffolk, integrating opportunities for students to develop their portfolios in real-life situations, showcasing the value of their creative skills and art in the wider community.
“Pippa's mural is vibrant and dynamic, complementing the fantastic new creative space in Ipswich town centre.
Microshops opened in June and comprises 17 retail pods, with traders including a local florist, plus size clothing, collectibles, hot and cold street food vendors.
Phase 2 is under way with nine new pods, three of which are already let to a hairdresser, masseuse and a home fragrance retailer.
Each retail pod, which is let on an affordable, all-inclusive, flexible monthly contract, is also suitable for artists, craftspeople and designers.
Anyone signing up for a retail pod will pay an affordable weekly rent that is inclusive of utilities. For or more information, email: firstname.lastname@example.org or visit: https://micro-shop.co.uk/form
University of Suffolk Press Office