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Page last updated at 14:35 GMT, Thursday, 19 August 2010 15:35 UK
Pretty Vacant graffiti arts project fills empty shops
Pretty Vacant arts project
The art project celebrates local people of unique character rather than celebrities

A new arts project called Pretty Vacant celebrates the local residents of Newcastle-under-Lyme in Staffordshire.

It's the brainchild of graffiti artist Chris Guest and photographer Darren Washington.

Using everything from spray cans to life-size cut outs, they are decorating empty shop windows in the town with images of the town's everyday heroes.

The project, which takes its name from a Sex Pistols song, has been funded solely by the British Arts Council.

Chris told BBC Radio Stoke: "We noticed there were loads of empty shop windows in Newcastle and wanted to do something about it that showed off our work but also celebrates local people."

Feels like Big Brother

He admitted that sometimes it's felt like the Big Brother house with lots of people watching their work in progress.

And while graffiti art is often seen in a negative way, Chris actually believes it'll be good for local business.

He insists that shops left empty give visitors a "bad impression of the area" but by making these vacant spaces look vibrant, local entrepreneurs will be encouraged to rent the premises.

You can follow the progress of the project at the Pretty Vacant website

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