Liverpool’s centre for the contemporary arts, the Bluecoat is launching ‘the Bluecoat Quarter’ on 20 September, to create a unique space within the city centre for businesses to celebrate their independent statuses.

Among the 23 retailers and businesses making up the Bluecoat Quarter are Epstein Theatre, Gostins Arcade, Probe Records and Lunya.

The zone for the Bluecoat Quarter incorporates School Lane, Church Alley, College Lane, Hanover Street, Brooks Alley and the nearby environs.

Chief Executive at the Bluecoat, Mary Cloake said: “Together we hope to reach out to the lanes, alleys and streets surrounding us to develop a thriving community of independent retailers and enliven our area.

“In doing so, we hope to enhance public interest in the arts as well as creating an alternative area to explore which incorporates shopping, eating, entertainment, green space, heritage and public art. Collectively, we would like to change people’s paths, drawing people from the commercial super-highway, to investigate the hidden gems of the city.

“As a reward for taking an alternative route, people will be treated with public realm art installations, playfully spaced so that they can be appreciated by all, in a variety of ways.

“This network of independent retailers will work together to provide a destination zone for the creative shopper, in which individuals can buy unique, affordable pieces ranging from jewellery and clothing, furniture, furnishings and pottery to first edition books and LPs.”

The Bluecoat Quarter is working with colleagues at Liverpool City Council to develop public art, with an aim of commissioning artists to create a visual language for the area, brightening the streets, connecting retail locations and supporting visitors in feeling welcome, safe and connected.

To kick start this initiative the Bluecoat have been selected to host the Alexandra Reinhardt Memorial Award artist-in-residence scheme for 2015. The award will support an artist-in-residence who will work with local children and families through the Bluecoat’s acclaimed participation programme to create an artwork for the front courtyard area. For more information about the residency go to: www.alexandrareinhardt.org

By working together, with a shared aim, the Bluecoat hopes to create an atmosphere echoing that of Manchester’s Northern Quarter or Brighton Lanes experience, but incorporating Liverpool’s warmth, hospitality and humour.

Launch event:

The free Bluecoat Quarter launch event takes place on Saturday 20 Sept between 12 and 4pm

The event will celebrate the area, heritage, products and companies on offer in the quarter. Participants will be invited to create pavement art to line the way from Church Street. And there will be music, performers, food, stalls and craft beer in the Bluecoat’s courtyard to energise the space and give visitors a chance to see what’s on offer.