PEOPLE used to gaze in at the window of this estate agents, dreaming of a different life – and now they will again.

Members of Wantage Art Group have this week taken over the former Hodsons unit on the corner of Market Place and Newbury Street to turn it into a pop-up art gallery.

Artists like Kathleen Foster, pictured here with her picture Bluebell Wood, have hung paintings and sketches inside and in the windows, and all of it is for sale.

The take-over happened after Wantage Mayor Steve Trinder wrote to the trustees of the fund which owns the building to ask if the space could be used for something creative until a new occupier was ready to move in.

He said: "I was concerned that the look of the empty unit detracted from the overall appearance of the town, and that has now changed.

"I was asked to write to the managers of the property and they were really helpful."

The pop-up exhibition features 24 pieces of work, much of it inspired by the local landscape and characters including former Wantage resident John Betjeman.

Art group founder Patsy Jones, said: "It's great to get the opportunity to show some of our members’ work, whilst improving the look of one of the shop fronts in town."

The group aims to be inclusive and welcoming to all, whatever their ability, and promote interest in visual art in the town.

The art group's take-over has been co-ordinated by Mim Norvell of Wantage Town Team, a council-funded initiative to boost trade and promote the town.

The team is working with landlords and agents to help 'overcome barriers to empty town centre units being let'.

Market town co-ordinator Ms Norvell said: "There are times when a unit that becomes available has to be sold before it can be let to a new occupier, and this often means that process can take longer.

"As a town team we try to do what we can to have those units look as good as possible in that time.

"We’re very grateful to our mayor for his role in making this possible, to the trustees of the building for their agreement, and of course to the members of Wantage Art Group for creating the exhibition of their excellent work."

To find out more about the art group email or visit