Arts DEPARTMENT: Re-imagining the high street on the Isle of Wight

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Former department store converted to a new cultural hub

DEPARTMENT is a space to dream big, create, display, perform, learn and exchange skills. A place for all to feel welcome. The former Packs Department store on Cross Street, Ryde, Isle of Wight, has become Shademakers‘ new base and is already home to artists, makers and workshop facilitators. The Cultural Development Fund now allows for the building works to begin to develop this space into an exciting, bold new cultural event and workspace and a state-of-the-art creative resource for the whole island.

Creative incubator

DEPARTMENT will be a creative incubator space where local creatives can share ideas, present work. Inside the space there are a number of performance spaces on the ground floor including:

  • studio theatre
  • dance and rehearsal space
  • retail space
  • exhibition area
  • artist residency spaces in shop windows
  • podcast/ recording studio
  • minimum of four artists studios
  • community room
  • office and workshop spaces for Shademakers


Shademakers is working with three other CICs: Stitch Department, Horse Box Theatre and Ryde Arts to  programme a bold and ambitious opening season of creative content that champions local artists and performers. It’s their ambition to provide artistic opportunities for the whole community to engage with.

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