Grow Festival 2020 ©ABDigitalUK Art on the High Street Blog by Helen Willmott, Programme Director at Made With Many. Over the past few years, our town centres have been declining and shops have been shutting. With the popularity of out-of-town retail parks and the boom in online shopping over the last year, town centres are searching for a new role and purpose. For many of us, town centres hold precious memories, from our first shopping trips without our parents to taking part in carnivals and celebrations, alongside the long history of many of the buildings in town centres across the county, they’re an important part of our collective heritage. Earlier this month, Arts Council England released a piece of research exploring how arts and culture can help to bring people and pride back to our high streets. It revealed that half of all adults would like to see more cultural experiences on their high streets and that arts events generate important extra income for town centre shops. So, at Made With Many, we’re working with local communities to put more cultural events into our town centres. Earlier this year in Corby we worked with The Core at Corby Cube to stage music performances by young people in Willow Place, and the team are busy working on plans to bring a new festival to Corby town centre in early 2022. And, we’ve joined forces with the Kettering Cultural Consortium and North Northants Council to help bring new cultural activities to Kettering in celebration of the rich heritage of the town centre. We hope that these activities will go a little way in helping to find a renewed purpose for our town centres as a place of fun, surprise and togetherness. Keep in Touch For future updates on news, events and opportunities please sign up to the e-newsletter or follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn – or Get Inspired on our website.