Reinventing Bedford's vacant retail space for creatives & the community.

POP Art is a place-making project delivered by Bedford Creative Arts in collaboration with Artist & Producer Talia Giles, to enliven Bedford’s empty high street shops through art. 

Artists & Associates

There are currently around 50 empty units in Bedford town centre.  POP Art aims to harness the talent of Bedford’s creative community to rejuvenate the town and showcase local artistic talent. 

POP – an acronym for Pride of Place – will provide artists with empty shop windows to display their work; turning unused spaces into loved spaces.

Elaine Midgley (Director of BCA) and Talia Giles, outside Unit 5 Midland Road

How it works

BCA negotiates permission with an empty shop’s landlord to exhibit art in their shop window until a new tenant is found.  The letting agent will continue to promote the vacant unit throughout the project.   

BCA invites local artists to apply for exhibition space. 

Artists are matched with appropriate windows and provided with a 2 week-long exhibition period. 

Artists install their work using their own resources and remove it after the exhibition ends.

An example mock window

Artists – Apply here

This is a fantastic way to raise your profile in Bedford’s town centre – showcasing your work to hundreds of people every day.    

If you are an artist interested in applying for an exhibition space, please complete our online form to be added to our waiting list.  If we can match you to a space, we’ll invite you to prepare an exhibition although please be aware – spaces are often found last minute and you have to act quickly to secure your place.

Available units:

Wellbeing Media Studio

Wellbeing Studio

18-20 Church Arcade

Church Arcade

Landlords & Agents – We can help

If you control an empty unit in the town centre we can provide exhibitions and pop-up activity as part of a rates mitigation scheme or simply as a way to keep your unit looking clean and attractive whilst its vacant – deterring vandalism & fly-posting. 

We can ensure that your agent’s details remain prominently displayed throughout with a processional window vinyl and you can continue to undertake viewings whilst art is in the space.  A short licence period means that you can easily terminate the Licence at short notice as soon as a tenant is agreed.   

If you’re able to offer a unit for an arts exhibition space or a creative pop-up programme or art studio, please contact our Director Elaine Midgley to find out more elainem@bedfordcreativearts.org.uk 01234 818670.  

Future Development

POP Art provides public space to showcase the amazing talent of Bedford’s creative community and will transform Bedford’s town centre into a public gallery. By doing so, POP Art will make the town, well, POP.  

Talia Giles is currently working on a number of POP projects including POP Bedford, a creative pop-up space during the Summer of 2023, and POP Studios. To find out more about this wider project please visit the PrideofPlace website.

We hope that this project will be able to expand to provide other pop-up uses for empty shops including performance spaces, studios and more for months to come.

POP Art is delivered in partnership with Pride of Place Bedford and Bedford Creative Arts. This project is made possible thanks to Bedford Borough Council’s Town Centre Priority Fund.

We’d like to say an enormous thanks to our agents and landlords for making this project a reality.