Art in the Heart was established
Dawn moved on to establish a group of quality artists from the area: the Art in the Heart artists who exhibited and sold and their work in Peterborough's Visitor Information Centre from February 2012. The work was primarily depicting images from the Greater Peterborough area in diverse styles from urban to representational. Quality ceramicists, jewellers and textile artists also came on board.
It was unique. The artists were carefully selected from the locality which is still central to its concept. They were professional artists with keen profiles having exhibited nationally or internationally or they were incredibly innovative emerging artists who were passionate about what they did. Just as importantly they were committed to the Art in the Heart principle. They wanted to share their work with the general and visiting public close to home as well as pursuing more national based ambitions. They also wanted to contribute to the economic and cultural regeneration of the city centre.
Art in the Heart set out to embrace diverse styles: representational, abstract, digital, urban and aimed to offer more cultural interest to the city centre and in so doing improve its economic landscape. It worked in partnership with the city council who wholeheartedly supported its principle and embraced its contribution both culturally and economically. It was also supported by Opportunity Peterborough.
Art in the Heart gallery and shop
In October 2012, Dawn Birch-James opened a 2 floor art gallery and gift shop at 47 Bridge Street right in the centre of Peterborough. Starting with 45 artists and makers, it eventually showcased 85.
In July 2016, it moved into new premises in a bespoke individual retail arcade. It now exhibits artists' and makers' work all with compelling narratives and quality work: paintings, prints and cards, linocuts, wood cuts, mixed media work, ceramics, glass, textiles, wood and metal craft, sculpture, jewellery, photography. It also offers a framing service and has a vast stock of ready made economy frames and picture hanging packs.
There are also a few sneaky brands such as part of its gift shop offer including: Culinary Concepts, Sophie Allport, Arthouse Meath and a whole host of individual fair trade items, candles, soaps.
The venue is managed by passionate and committed advisors and operates with a team of dedicated and highly skilled volunteers. It is therefore able to open 6 days a week, hold Live Art Saturday in nearby premises, deliver a programme of workshops and offer good internship and work experience opportunities.
It has appeared on TV, achieved a highly commended business award, and is in the Visit Peterborough Guide and Website as an important tourist attraction
The City Council first supported the concept and the high street venue as did Opportunity Peterborough, NWES, Hunt and Coombs Solicitors, ProHelp Peterborough and Active Property Contractors. Now it is keenly supported by Queensgate Shopping Centre and Invesco.
Find out about our art gallery and shop