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art & design

Westminster Council Steps in to Protect Major Art Centers from Redevolopment

Christie's Auction House, St James

Christie’s Auction House, St James

The heart of Westminster, plays one of the largest roles in the worlds art market.  Home to an overabundant number of art galleries, public exhibition locations, world art fairs, art specialist like framer, restorers, researchers and auction house, the immense importance of preserving their location and presents is undeniable.

Britain contributes to 29% of the global art market and in 2009 alone, the arts generated £7.7 billion in sales and employed over 60,000 people. Since the areas of Mayfair and St James have become such destinations in Westminster, retail stores are popping up and slowly trying to invade the art centers prime location.  With plan proposals to redeveloped these areas certain limitations are being proposed to protect the flourishing arts in these key areas.  To limit the threats the Council of Westminster has proposed a plan called the Special Policy Areas (SPAs) to protect and promote these unique areas that are irreplaceable in Britain’s economy.

Two main areas which the arts are focused on in the SPA  is St James, which is known for their old masters located at Christie’s auction house, White Cube gallery and 70 – 80 other retail galleries, as well as Mayfair, which has a historic feature of trading art and antiques and now focuses much on the contemporary arts – with Cork Street for contemporary art, Bond Street for auction houses like Sotheby’s and Bonhams, the Burlington Arcade, the Royal Academy of Arts and 70 – 100 other retail galleries.

without the SPAs proposal, high paying retail companies could cause a drastic decline in the economy by limiting the arts.

To learn more about the SPA and the Westminster development plans click here.

About Alyssa T. Rehs

Alyssa Rehs is a fourth generation Art Dealer at her family owned art galleries, Rehs Galleries, Inc. and Rehs Contemporary Galleries, Inc., New York City, New York. She received an Art History degree from the University of Rhode Island in 2012 as well as interned at Christie’s Auction House, New York City. Using her art historian degree, gallery experience, and a summer spent working at the auction house, she has a well rounded understanding of the art market. Alyssa appreciates the market from multiple standpoints; art lover, art buyer and art seller!


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