A COMMUNITY arts space has been praised during a visit by the Leigh MP.

Andy Burnham popped in to speak to the artists at New Art Spaces, a pop-up exhibition gallery with workspaces on Bradshawgate in Leigh.

The gallery, opened in an empty shop unit by Castlefield Gallery, is now home to 12 emerging artists from Wigan and Leigh.

Mr Burnham MP said: “Seeing a new gallery open up on Bradshawgate has to go down as one of my highlights of the year. Perceptions of Leigh are changing all the time and this new venture will only add to that.

“One of the great things about this project is the way it has brought together a number of local artists to share what would otherwise have been a redundant space. Rather than working in isolation, they can now collaborate and share ideas.

“Leigh already has a thriving arts community and the creation of this hub can only help build interest and give young artists a place to go."

Recent graduate Abigail Jackson is one of the artists in residence.

She said: “It has been hugely beneficial to me as an artist and to the continuation of my arts practice. They provide a platform in which I am able to make work in an environment that is both creative and inspiring, and allow me to exhibit my work in the gallery downstairs.

“Up until joining the New Art Spaces I had been unable to find such an excellent opportunity for emerging artists, as very few opportunities for the arts exist in my local area. The spaces and gallery frequently attract interest from the locals, who have provided lots of positive feedback whilst browsing the art work on show.”