Plans to turn Kentish Town High Street into an art exhibition

Headshot of Kentish Town Spot founder Mike Gyi.

Kentish Town Spot founder Mike Gyi. - Credit: Mike Gyi

A community newsletter plans to turn Kentish Town High Street into an art exhibition.

The Whatsapp newsletter Kentish Town Spot is fundraising to transform the high street into a permanent exhibition celebrating the unique stories of 20 independent businesses. 

Town Spot founder Mike Gyi, 31, is hoping that this will create a stronger sense of community in the area. 

For the initiative, Town Spot will interview selected business owners, take professional portrait photos, and create large window stickers that will give an insight into their individual histories. 

Mike, originally from Blackpool, said: “Every business on Kentish Town Road has a unique story and I want to tell that story in a physical and impactful way to help them attract more customers.”

To fund the project, Camden Council pledged to provide half of the required £18,634, while the remaining money is being raised online until Friday (March 11).

Mike, who moved to London after studying architecture in Newcastle, developed the Kentish Town Spot newsletter in 2019 after he witnessed his grandmother’s struggle to get involved in her local community after his grandfather’s death.

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Consulting more than 500 different websites every week, Kentish Town Spot has provided subscribers with specific information about events and activities in the area every Sunday for the past two years. 

Having received a lot of positive feedback, Mike said he ultimately hopes to eventually extend the project to more localities and foster a stronger sense of community around London. 

The 31-year-old, who works at a consultancy firm designing mental health apps for refugees, has long fostered a passion for developing strategies to make people more connected to where they live.

He said: “I just feel like in the UK we have lost that sense of community.

“It’s all about place-making at the end of the day which ties back into why I studied architecture and I find it interesting to see how you can use technology to facilitate real-world connections.”

Following the completion of the fundraiser, Town Spot will work with Camden Council to choose a diverse selection of 20 independent businesses for the new project.

For pledges for the Town Spot Kentish High Street project visit www.spacehive.com/help-nw5-business#/idea