ART students at Hucknall’s Holgate Comprehensive School have lost a prominent venue in the town centre to exhibit their work.
A shop on Baker Street which was converted into The Gallery just over three years ago is being returned to retail use.
Holgate took advantage of a scheme to find a positive temporary use for empty shops and avoid them becoming boarded-up eyesores.
The Baker Street shop was formerly a travel agency and closed down as a result of the recession.
The idea for The Gallery first came about through a government challenge for schools to come up with innovative ways of using empty buildings during the trade crunch.
Holgate approached an estate agent and was delighted to be offered the use of the shop for free.
The scheme was launched to rave reviews in October 2009. Since then, shoppers passing the premises have been amazed by the quality of paintings and scuptures displayed by the students. Many thought they were the work of professional artists.
Rebecca Morris, of the school’s arts department, said: “It has been a fantastic outlet for the school to the community and it has done a great deal to motivate our students.”
The Gallery was the brainchild of art teacher Charlotte Olbrecht, who was inspired by a visit to the Spanish city of Barcelona.
Rebecca said: “It is sad that The Gallery has had to close but it is good news for the town that a business is occupying the premises.
“We are still signed up for the scheme and hope to find somewhere else in the town centre where we can show the students’ work. It is a big advantage that we can be in and out of a shop quite quickly.
“The Gallery was also used by primary schools and community groups, and it was the venue for an exhibition by members of Watnall Road Art Group during the summer.”
Hucknall town centre manager Mark Armstrong confirmed that the landlord of the shop was leasing it to a new tenant.
“But I do not yet know what the new business will be,” he added. “It is a question of watch this space.”
Mr Armstrong said it was pleasing that the premises would be a shop again but he wanted to thank Holgate for making excellent use of the venue in the meantime.