The art gallery adds color to the main street
A BUSINESSMAN chose his hometown to open his latest art gallery.
Mark Wilson said he was looking to add pops of color to the city center after opening Air Fine Art on High Street in Stratford.
Mark, 47, bought parent company Artique in February 2020 after a career in the auto industry; he was CFO of McLaren and later of Aston Martin.
After Air Fine Art opened in Cheltenham in October, the new Stratford gallery began trading in the unit formerly occupied by Curry’s.
“We are absolutely thrilled with 30 High Street,” he said. “It’s a fantastic unit, with a huge heritage, and it’s been empty for six years, which is amazing.
“I am a strong believer in Stratford, as a resident, and understand the local geography and demographics. I see a very bright future for Main Street in Stratford and we are just thrilled to be a part of it.
When Mark bought Artique he took over six galleries – in Brighton, Canterbury, Windsor, Norwich, Tunbridge Wells and Cambridge – but when the time came to expand he chose Stratford.
“It’s a great place to live, and besides the fact that the local population is relatively wealthy, there are also the tourists, and that plays out very well in what we do,” he said. “I have been absolutely delighted to see the Christmas markets over the past few days, and the success of it. Stratford was absolutely gasping.
“So that also plays into the decisions you make when looking for where to open, it’s not just relative local wealth. It’s about seeing what else is going on in the city you are opening in. Stratford is obviously doing well in both respects.
The opening of an art gallery on the High Street is also a sign of the evolution of city centers, added Mark.
“A lot of everyday consumer goods have been transferred to the Internet,” he said. “But for destinations and experiences, this is where I think you see Main Street having a bit of a renaissance and art is a classic example of that.
“People want to see the art they are buying, they want to sit in our viewing rooms with a glass of wine and light it up in different conditions. It is much more based on experience than it is necessarily transactional.
“I think it’s great for Mainstreets that this is the way to go, and I can fully invest in that because I think that’s where we’re headed. It’s not overnight, it’s going to take a while, but you can see this transition happening now. “