Shropshire Star

Shropshire art space to be given new lease of life

An art exhibition space which has been standing largely empty for two years is being given a new lease of life.

Rod Sheppard and Jan Park

Footprint Gallery, which is situated in the grounds of Jackfield Tile Museum and is being refurbished, will host a programme of art exhibitions and events throughout the year.

The aim is to transform the space into a key community asset and be available for individual artists or groups to hire.

Volunteers and practising artists, Rod Sheppard and Jan Park, have been engaging with the landlords about their plans and are close to finalising the lease.

Rod said: “Art is for everyone regardless of age, culture and heritage. There are no barriers to the enjoyment of, and participation in, the visual arts.

“It would be hard to find a city or town in the UK which did not have a main art gallery as well as a cluster of art shops and studios.

“We believe strongly in the need for Telford and Shropshire to have a prestigious single use gallery space which would be for all the people of our county and be an attraction for visitors from other parts of the UK.

“Whilst the intention is to give opportunities to local artists, we also want to improve the promotion of art in the community and demonstrate its value as an enjoyable and enriching experience.

“Regrettably, the gallery has been unused for 11 months of the year. This is an unacceptable situation and visitors regularly enquire about an exhibition programme.

“The space is large and flexible, and can be adapted to fit a variety of styles of event, not just a whitewall gallery space. It has all the facilities required to stage a top-class show.”

Rod and Jan are both members of Secret Seven Arts, which was created in 2016 by a small group of artists who were determined to get local talent showcased in a collaborative venture.

The result has been an annual exhibition held each September at the gallery, which has grown from a weekend event to a 12-day show involving up to 50 artists.

For more details about the project email

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