Another one bites the dust

The art gallery on Little Clarendon Street, Inspires, is
closing. Their email said that a couple of years of recession,
steep business rates, high rents was all bad enough, but the
untimely, pre-Christmas snowfall was the final nail in the coffin.
If it hadn’t been, then I’m sure that the 11 weeks of road closure
that just started would have done them in anyway. I worry for
Central. Not that I can afford most of their highly-designed wares,
but it gladdens my heart to know there is furniture beyond Ikea.
Inspires is the fourth business to close on that street over recent
weeks, and with each one Jericho has lost something of the
eclecticism that made it worth visiting. Sylvester’s (kitchen
stuff, gifts, cards, originally two stores then shrunk to one) had
been open for 15 years, Inspires for 10. I expect what we’ll get
instead is either another chain restaurant or a Tescobury’s. Their
strikingly horrible mini-markets seem to be oozing into any space
that comes vacant. I think I am building up to avoiding
supermarkets altogether, but that’s a different post (yay! another
post idea!) In any event, the character of the area is beginning to
change, and not for the better. Inspires is a lovely, welcoming
gallery, always happy to let people wander around and admire the
collection and doing what it can to make art affordable. They
participated in the Art Loans programme, by which people can
purchase an artwork on an instalment plan, paying a deposit and
then the balance over 10 months. I love the idea, because it does
something to lower the barrier to owning something that bit
special. Equal access to art. The owners told me that their
suppliers say that the story is the same all over the country. Art
galleries can’t afford to stay open; artists then don’t have venues
to display and sell their works. Are all pictures now being mass
produced in China alongside everything else, so we can buy the same
as everyone else in Tescobury’s (third aisle, just past the
breakfast cereal) or John Lewis? I know the recession has hit hard
and there are far worse stories than a gallery closing. People lost
jobs, homes, confidence and that’s all much more serious stuff. But
if there aren’t nice things around, then doesn’t the gloom get that
bit gloomier?


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I've run out of books. Again.

4 thoughts on “Another one bites the dust”

  1. Ooo, you’ve made me realize that I forgot to do the “fiction” and “nonfiction” categories. I’ll have to add a “P.S.” post or something. I’m patting myself on the back because I read nearly as many books as you did this year. That’s what happens when I read a bunch of comic books in order to achieve a record and you have a “light” year.

  2. That comment was supposed to be on the 2010 books roundup post, not here (chalk it up to cough medicine). I am copying and pasting it, and you can delete it, if you’d like.

  3. That is really sad. I hate the way that it’s always truth love and beauty that suffer first in hard times. In Cambridge we still have two art galleries, well three I guess, but how long they will keep going I do not know. I’ve bought art from one before, but I admit that right now, it’s not something I can afford. I’d do it if I could, though, and I love the idea of paying for it over a length of time.

  4. Emily – I’ve left you in, unedited.

    Litlove – That is exactly what I meant. Sigh. Well, I went and rescued some paintings from the gallery, so I have beauty around me at least. The Art Loan scheme is a national programme, by the way, so you never know your luck.

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