Art could be exhibited and sold in pop-up shops in The Levee retail precinct.
Hunter Arts Network members have applauded a Maitland City Council vision to make good use of vacant shops and lure people to the CBD.
East Maitland artisan jewellery designer and metalsmith Melanie Hay has exhibited works in regional galleries and sells pieces online.
“I’m a mum with a couple of active children and I don’t have the time to operate a shopfront alone,” she said.
“Where pop-up shops work well is where a couple of artists can share resources.”
Another member, Margo Humphries, lives at Cardiff and has seen Hunter artists exhibit and sell their pieces with great success in the Hunter Mall through Renew Newcastle.
“A lot of our members have done it,” she said. “Their business has grown and they’ve become full-rent paying tenants.”
Maitland City Council launched a tenancy strategy on Tuesday night and will engage a consultant to weigh up what kind of shops existed in Maitland and the opportunities to attract more shoppers, with pop-up stores likely to feature in the mix.
“It will ask if we need more cafes, services or fashion boutiques, for example, but it could also recommend a flower shop,” council marketing and communications manager Rachel MacLucas said.
The council is considering pop-up shops as part of a number of plans in the next six to 12 months to rejuvenate central Maitland and has spoken to Renew Newcastle founder Marcus Westbury.
“A renew-type strategy will focus on the creatives,” Ms MacLucas said. “The tenancy program will be broader.”
A place activation scheme would, for example, encourage coffee carts, while a review of Maitland’s annual Taste Festival would aim to attract pop-up food and beverage shops in The Levee.
Taste will be The Levee’s first festival after construction of stage one is scheduled for completion in February.