Thursday, 15 May saw the official opening of the Encounters Shop at 91 High Street, Andover.
Mayor of Test Valley, Councillor Jan Lovell, cut the ribbon, and a flood of well wishers entered the shop and started to interact with the exhibits. The shop aims to encourage people to record memories of Andover’s past, comment on the present day and share aspirations for the town’s future.
People of all ages are welcome to pop into the shop over the next five weeks. It will be open Wednesday through to Saturday from 10am to 6pm and on Sunday market days, until 15 June.
Councillor Ian Carr, Leader of the Council, said: “I was delighted to attend the official opening of the Encounters experience and take part in the wide range of thought-provoking activities that can be found in the shop.
“The project is an innovative and creative way to interact with the people of Andover and surrounding villages and reflects the Council’s desire to seek the views of a wide cross section of residents to help inform our commitment to the future of the town.
“The outcome of the individual activities will form a dynamic display of photographs, visual art and text, which will change and evolve over the weeks and provide fascinating reading for visitors and spark even more thoughts and ideas.”
Ruth Ben-Tovim, Creative Director at Encounters Arts, added: “It has been really uplifting and positive to meet so many people who really care about their town and are willing to share their experiences and ideas. We’ve already met hundreds of people of all ages just in the short time we have been open and a rich collection is growing in the Andover shop. We are a passionate about the role that art and culture can really play in the development of a place especially when people are placed at the heart of it, and we hope that the shop demonstrates how this is possible. Please come and join in.”
The project aims to bring together local people and encourage them to think about Andover’s past, present and future and express their thoughts in a variety of informal and creative ways. The ideas, experiences and stories generated will then be brought together to help inform how the town is shaped in future.