Indoor arts and crafts market in Southsea giving artists a much-needed boost

ARTISTS have been given a crucial lifeline with an indoor market in a closed department store.

By David George
Sunday, 13th September 2020, 10:03 am
Updated Sunday, 13th September 2020, 12:00 pm

This weekend has seen the launch of the We Create Market, set up in what used to be Debenhams in Palmerston Road, Southsea.

It is the brainchild of those behind Victorious and Portsmouth Creates.

Taking place once a month until December, the events give artists from Portsmouth and the surrounding area the chance to sell the artwork they have created during lockdown.

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We Create market, former Debenhams site, Palmerston Road, Southsea. Picture: Chris Moorhouse (120920-06)

Many artists have struggled in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak, so these events will help to get them back on their feet.

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More than 60 different artisans, from jewellery makers to painters and breweries,

Illustrator Amy Harwood, 28 from Eastleigh, said: ‘This whole idea of an indoor market for people like us is really exciting, and it’s a great environment.

We Create market, former Debenhams site, Palmerston Road, Southsea. Picture: Chris Moorhouse (120920-04)

‘I’ve been chatting to people all day and everyone is happy that this space is being used for something positive.

‘It is so important that we have events like this because people get to discover new artists – there is a lot of hard work that goes into this stuff and everyone gets a platform to express themselves.’

Alongside the one-way exhibition hall, a side stage was set up for the We Believe Art Trail.

This included 20 artists spreading a message of hope, including visually-impaired artist Clarke Reynolds, from North End.

Claire Weir of Clairabows. We Create market, former Debenhams site, Palmerston Road, Southsea. Picture: Chris Moorhouse (120920-05)

His piece was a rainbow braille of key worker professions.

He said: ‘Key workers have been the unsung heroes of the coronavirus pandemic.

‘I wanted to show people how beautiful braille can be, while celebrating people who have done something incredible in the midst of a crisis.

‘Many artists don’t have studios of their own, so having events like this is a great way to promote talent in the city.

From left, Megan Jeffries, Sarah Beasley and Joe Knight. We Create market, former Debenhams site, Palmerston Road, Southsea. Picture: Chris Moorhouse (120920-03)

‘Regardless of what happens to this old department store in the future, I hope we have more things like this for local artists.’

Visitors to the exhibition were also delighted with the top-quality work on display.

Vicky Piper, 48 from Portsmouth, went along with Steven Piper, 43.

She said: ‘Seeing all these talented artists is absolutely fantastic.

‘People are always talking about helping independent businesses, and this is a great platform to do that.’

The market is open today.

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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