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A brief history of the Alcove Art Shop

The Designer Art Shop trading as Alcove Art Shop emerged out of a long consultative process guided by a steering Committee led by Ken West and Mark Brocklesby, who had originally conceived the idea of the Alcove Shop.  This steering committee consulted with Whitehorse City Council and the Box Hill Community Arts Centre (BHCAC) over about ten years.  These meetings involved community consultations, surveys and liaison with various craft-orientated groups associated with the BHCAC.

Ken West at the opening of the Alcove Art Shop

As an experiment and to test community interest, a group of artists from Victorian Ceramic Group, Box Hill Clay-workers, and Box Hill Hand-spinners and Weavers were allowed to open up a temporary “shop” for three weeks in the premises now used by our Alcove Art Shop; this was successful but as it was still an open area, everything needed to be packed up and secured each night.

The steering Committee then concentrated on opening a permanent shop.  This involved becoming an Incorporated body, composing memorandums of understanding with Whitehorse City Council, business plans, planning the design of the shop, making suitable shop furniture, attracting artists who could create a broad variety of arts, organising volunteers to work in the shop and forming an efficient Committee to run the enterprise.

The shop was opened in March 2002.  Since then scores of artists and Committee members have contributed their artistry and their labour and the shop is still a success story.  Many Artist Run Spaces have been established in Victoria, but Alcove is one of the few still thriving - thanks to the industry and vision of people from the past and present.