How Hull’s Fruit Market is turning into a cultural hub

Form Shop & Studio Pictured: Joseph Cox, Alice ThomsonForm Shop & Studio Pictured: Joseph Cox, Alice Thomson
Form Shop & Studio Pictured: Joseph Cox, Alice Thomson
AN art shop, studio and gallery is relocating to become part of a new cultural and creative hub in the heart of Hull’s Fruit Market.

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Form Shop & Studio is moving into the ground floor of 61-63 Humber Street, which has undergone a £1.2m redevelopment to make it a thriving centre for the creative arts.

Form will open in its new home on Saturday, August 24. The move will enable Form to extend its range of prints and illustrations by local artists and provide a showcase for the work of emerging and established creatives who are joining Juice Studios on the building’s first floor.

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Form is owned by graphic artist Joseph Cox and fellow creative Alice Thomson, whose business has grown as the Fruit Market urban village has evolved.

Over the past two years Form has sold the work of more than 50 local artists and printmakers and has hosted a monthly artist showcase featuring work from around the region.

Mr Cox has also worked with many local arts organisations, including Humber Street Sesh and Artlink, as well several neighbouring businesses in the Fruit Market.

The move will enable Joseph and Alice to build on their work with local artists and creatives, with the glazed shopfront offering new opportunities to promote Hull’s creative talent to visitors to the waterfront district.

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He has also played a leading role in developing Juice Studios and the move will strengthen further ties with fellow creatives in the Humber Street building.

Form sells contemporary prints by artists from Hull and beyond, as well as greeting cards, books and magazines, stationery, design-led gifts and other paper goods.

Mr Cox said: “We’re really excited about our new home. We’re only moving a few yards, but it feels like a big step for us.

“We started out online and then grew by attending local markets, before opening a weekend pop-up in Humber Street two years ago. A little while later we opened our first permanent shop at 16

Humber Street, just across the street from our new home.

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“Our new space is bigger and much more flexible. It will enable us to increase our ranges and provide a showcase and retail outlet for more of the fantastic creativity of the artists we work with, most of whom are in or around Hull.

“We’ve got a few ideas to develop what we do, including stocking a new range of arts and cultural magazines. We can see them being popular with visitors to the café bar next door.”

Ms Thomson added: “This move feels like we’re going back to where it all began for us. The first physical presence for the business was as part of the Humber Street Market and we were big fans of Fruit. It’s exciting that the venue will soon re-open and that we’ll be next door to the café bar and the performance space.”

The transformation of 61-63 Humber Street has involved the repair, refurbishment and reconfiguration of all three floors, including the creation of a new, sound-proofed multi-arts performance venue on the ground floor.

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The building was closed for almost a year before the performance venue opened temporarily recently for the New Music Biennial and Pride in Hull events, with Humber Street Sesh to come.

The venue is expected to re-open on a permanent basis this Autumn, following completion of the works.

The redevelopment has brought back into use the first and second floors of the building, which have been derelict for more than a decade. It is partly funded by a £600,000 grant from the Coastal Communities Fund to support the continuing regeneration of the Fruit Market.

The first floor is now occupied by Juice Studios, a vibrant artistic space for Hull’s creative community featuring a combination of dedicated and shared working spaces for creatives working in a range of

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art disciplines, including printmaking, contemporary art, textiles and fashion design.

Hull-based co-operative Feral Art School, a not-for-profit community of professional artists and educators, is already active in Juice Studios with more creatives joining the community over coming weeks.

The rebirth of the Humber Street creative hub is part of the rejuvenation of the waterfront district being led by Wykeland Beal, the regeneration company formed by commercial developer Wykeland Group and housebuilder Beal Homes, as part of the Fruit Market LLP joint venture with Hull City Council.

Tom Watson, Development Surveyor for Wykeland, speaking on behalf of Wykeland Beal, said: “Joseph is a well-known and respected member of Hull’s artistic community and Form Shop & Studio has become a mainstay of the Fruit Market’s creative scene. We’re delighted Joseph and Alice now have the opportunity to grow their business once more

within Humber Street and, by doing so, support other creative individuals and ventures in the Fruit Market and beyond.”

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