Outdoor galleries, performances and a showcase for independent businesses is the focus of an event taking place across Keighley town centre on 26th and 27th March.
The K-Town Shopper weekend will see the town transformed into a "fabulous and fun place to come and do your shopping and see some art".
There will be an arts trail to explore and a chance to collect stickers from local businesses to be entered into a prize draw at the end of the weekend.
The project is part of Bradford Council’s Spring Back 2022 campaign and will see Church Green and Low Street reimagined as vibrant outdoor galleries and performances spaces that will showcase the talents of local creatives. And for one weekend only, Keighley will get its own alternative department store packed full of local independent businesses and more than a few surprises for visitors!
Organisers say: “Since announcing the project last month, we’ve been hard at work curating the best line-up of events and activities for the people of K-Town to get involved with over the weekend. From street food to graffiti workshops, historic tours to celebrity appearances, there really is something for everyone! And all our local businesses have been fantastic. We are lucky to have such a great mixture of shops and stalls in Keighley, and we want more people to know about these shopping treasures.”
Free maps of the art trail will be distributed prior to the event and made readily available over the weekend. In addition to the trail, the K-town shopper ‘Alternative Department Store’ will take over Keighley Creative at the old Beales / Sunwin House building on Hanover Street. Opening times are Saturday 26 March, 10am-5pm and Sunday 27 March, 11am-4pm.
A spokesperson for Keighley Creative said: “Our interactive, alternative department store is going to make visitors feel like they’ve stepped back to a time when a trip into town was the only way to spend a Saturday. From stilt walkers to flash mobs, art workshops to food demonstrations, it’s going to be a true feast for the eyes and ears!
“We will also be joined by a whole host of top local businesses for our in-store market, and we’re very excited to announce that Jay’s Yorkshire Workshop star and all round top K-Town lass, Kate Kitchin, will be teaming up with Pickard Hardware Ltd and The Lion's Den Shed to bring you a "repair shop" style event in store on Saturday 26th.
“We’ve even got Bradford Police Museum coming to showcase a retro police motorbike that you can take your photograph with! And when people aren’t browsing, they can check out local photographer Charles Waller's nostalgic photo gallery of Keighley’s shopping heritage from past decades. There’s also our family friendly Toy Lab Workshops where we’ll be repurposing old toys into new creations. There’s just so much going on!”
The arts trail part of the weekend will take people on a walk around Keighley’s main shopping streets and will be made up of an eclectic mix of things to see and do with plenty of opportunities to get involved and interact along the way. All the different pieces featured have been dreamt up by local creatives in response to the project team’s creative callout asking for ideas inspired by the nostalgia of Keighley’s Shopping Heritage.
Expect to find:
- A life-size paper doll station hosted by Rachel Lackey and Chloe Knight on Church Green. Visitors will have the chance to dress up in iconic looks through the ages and get the perfect Insta snap.
- A series of portraits of the people behind beloved local businesses by renowned visual artist Shiraaz Ali on Hanover Street.
- Streets lined with large scale and bold fabric banners designed by Keighley Creative’s studio holder, Olivia Brearley.
- A popup of nostalgic post boxes designed by local maker Emily Parkin. Emily will use her own quirky style to depict iconic market stalls from Keighley’s past and present, and visitors will have the chance to post and share their own memories of shopping in Keighley.
- A search for an iconic “lost dog” brought to you by Kevin McNulty. Expect to be taken on a digital journey through Keighley’s musical history along the way.
- An interactive projection in North Street Arcade by digital artist Bill Beaumont featuring all your favourite childhood toys.
- Paste ups celebrating Keighley's top shopping destinations in the early 2000's by Robyn Nichol whose work was recently featured in the independent newspaper.
- The return of Irene Lofthouse’s extremely popular “Royal Arcadians tour” which takes visitors on a trip though the shopping streets hidden below the Royal Arcade.
All the artists have a personal connection to Keighley and are incredibly proud and excited that their work will be going on public display for a Keighley audience.
Artist Robyn Nichol says: “For me to have my first public art piece in Keighley is really important to me. To be able to kind of draw attention to the town and what it does have to offer, and to be part of the cultural art scene is really important. For my grandma and grandpa to be able to come along and see my work up like that… it just makes me feel quite emotional.”
All the events taking place over the weekend are free and most require no booking but organisers do ask that people register for free tickets if they want to attend one of the creative workshops or the Royal Arcadians tour. For more details on how to do this, please head to the K-Town Shopper Facebook page at facebook.com/ktownshopper
The K-Town shopper project has been made possible by Bradford Council’s Spring Back 2022 Campaign, as a part of the Creative High Streets initiative.
Councillor Alex Ross-Shaw, Bradford Council’s Executive Member for Regeneration, Planning and Transport, said: “I’m really pleased we’ve been able to fund such a great event in Keighley. This weekend of exciting events and activities provides the perfect opportunity for the local community to come together and support local businesses in a free-entry, family-friendly event.”
The Arts Trail part of the weekend is funded by the 2014 to 2020 European Regional Development Fund Programme, Northern Powerhouse, HM Government, Bradford City and Bradford2025.
The Bradford district is currently one of eight long-listed places in the running to be the next UK City of Culture 2025.
ATTENTION VALUED CUSTOMERS! 🛒— Keighley Creative (@CreativeKly) March 2, 2022
You're invited to K Town Shopper - our weekend long celebration where we'll be showcasing a whole host of fabulous local businesses, artists, makers, movers & shakers!
Come celebrate your high street on 26th & 27 March #Ktownshopper #SpringBack2022 pic.twitter.com/XDXtwSgndM