HAVING a studio at Cockington Court Craft Centre has proved so successful for A Kick up the Arts that the business has now expanded with a new shop in Torquay. A Kick up the Arts, a colourful and exciting art studio run by Mark and Sarah Bell, has been at Cockington for a year, and during this time has found the location ‘brilliant’.
“Mark is the painter and loves being at Cockington,” said Sarah. “It’s brilliant as it makes him go to ‘work’ every day and it’s a great place for him to focus and create. We can take on so much more work and commissions - it doesn’t seem as daunting as when we were based at home and we meet so many different sorts of people.”
The studio at Cockington Court – operated by Torbay Development Agency, Torbay Council’s economic development company - has proved such a success, A Kick up the Arts has expanded and opened a shop in Palk Street, Torquay.
“We’re being called the coolest gift shop in Torquay,” said Sarah. “We want to appeal to lots of people and so have widened the range of products we sell including high quality gifts from smaller, local companies. “It’s going really well, especially the hand painted furniture. Mark can’t paint it fast enough.”
And she said the shop, which also sells vintage and repro clothes upstairs, has received support from all kinds of people – both tourists and locals - and is also being supported by fans of the Bells’ other enterprise, Kinky & Quirky’s Burlesque and Boogie. Founded in 2007, this now organises Devon’s premier monthly burlesque events bringing international performers to the South West.
“Once we finally gave up our jobs in 2009, we had to concentrate fully to make everything a success. A Kick up the Arts was a natural progression, combining both our talents,” said Sarah.
Torbay Mayor, Gordon Oliver, said: “The new Sea Change studios at Cockington Court provide a unique location for creative businesses to produce imaginative and innovative work. I’m very pleased the setting is proving so rewarding for Mark and Sarah, allowing them to expand and open a shop in Torquay.
“Torbay Council is committed to increase footfall and spend in the town centres and supporting retailers in the Bay.”