Former Archway betting shop becomes art gallery

An old bookies has been turned into an art gallery by budding Archway artists

An old bookies has been turned into an art gallery by budding Archway artists - Credit: Archant

Disused bookmakers houses work by budding artists

A former bookies has been turned into an exhibition by a group of enterprising artists.

The Girdlestone Third Age Arts group are holding their show in a disused betting shop in Archway Mall, off Junction Road.

They meet once a week on the nearby Gridlestone Estate where they are mentored by renowned artist Darren Marshall - now their work is helping the brighten up a formerly dingy party of Archway.

Mr Marshall, whose own work has won widespread critical acclaim, said: “We have around 20 residents who come along very week and others that come when they can.

“The reason I want to keep being involved in this project is because it is really unique. It isn’t about exams and they bring a wealth of life experience which translates into really interesting art.”

During the sessions, the budding Picassos are encouraged to explore unusual ways of expressing themselves.

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In one class they were asked to create artwork based on the music of metal band Napalm Death and electro-pop duo Daft Punk.

Long-standing member of the group Roy York is the current Pearly King of Smithfield Market. His work, featuring marionettes, is among the exhibits on display.

Mr York, who has completed 10 marathons – one in full Pearly King garb – still raises hundreds of pounds for hospitals and charities every year.

He said: “It is a really good group because we are allowed to bring our own ideas in - our own take on each project. As a Pearly King I do all sorts of events and it is very important to me and a special privilege.”

The Girdlestone Third Age Arts group is co-funded by Islington Council and Cripplegate.

The exhibition was intended as a one off but the owners of the temporary gallery next to the FAD’s Community Café, have agreed to let the exhibition run until July.