Cafe displays town’s art

Cafe owner Paul Opiah, left, with some of the artists displaying their work in the new U Choose Gallery.
Cafe owner Paul Opiah, left, with some of the artists displaying their work in the new U Choose Gallery.
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A cafe owner has said he was so overwhelmed by the artistic talent of Ilkeston folk, he has decided to display their work at his business.

Landscapes, pastels and even stained-glass now adorn the walls and windows of The U Choose Smoothie Bar in Bath Street in a bid to give their creators a platform to sell their works to the town.

In the few weeks they have been on display, one piece has even attracted interest from the Derby Museum and Art Gallery and a number of works have already been snapped up by art-loving shoppers.

Owner Paul Opiah said: “I love people and I love investing in people. Just to see the smiles on these artists’ faces makes it all worthwhile.”

He added: “There is so much talent in Ilkeston, I couldn’t believe it.”

Water colour painter Barry Sutcliffe said: “As an artist it’s so difficult to get somewhere to display your works but Paul has done a wonderful thing for us here.”

The current display is on until January, with plans in the pipeline to show off the work of Ilkeston children and young people.

Paul, whose shop has moved twice around Ilkeston town centre in the last three years hopes the cafe will become a cultural hub for the town.