ART aVENUE will take over an empty unit at The Brooks Shopping Centre to host its second exhibition.

From Saturday, Unit 12 is set to be the location - this time by portrait painter Tessa Thonett.

The idea of ART aVENUE was inspired by the fact that more and more shops seem to stand empty as online shopping takes a toll on the high street.

It simultaneously aims to lifts the image of the high street and the profiles of participating emerging artists.

This is done by turning empty shops into semi-permanent, pop-up galleries.

The preceding exhibition in Unit12, by Markus Thonett, ended on January 15.

Markus also initiated the project and was the person who first proposed it to a number of shopping centres.

The Brooks management welcomed the proposal and made Unit12 available; at least until such time that a permanent retailer is found.

Tessa and Markus Thonett are an artist couple and being the first two to exhibit in Unit12 shows both their enthusiasm and passion for art.

Both have been involved in art throughout their lives in one way or another and they have recently exhibited together with one other artist in Camden, London, and before that they both had solo exhibitions in Kensington and also held a joint show called Who-We-Are in the Alan Gallery in Alton. Tessa also had a solo exhibition in the Flora Twort Gallery, Petersfield.

The couple intend to curate the pop-up gallery together and invite local talent, as well as artists from further afield, to apply.

Quality and art is of course a topic much debated, and Markus and Tessa are well aware that there is a large subjective element involved.

See the oil paintings by Tessa Thonett, when her show opens on the January 19. It will be available to see at The Brooks’ opening time of 9am.