JOHNSTONE youngsters are being invited to help design a public art installation for a derelict site in the town centre.

Renfrewshire Council is working in partnership with architecture group New Practice to develop a temporary structure at the corner of High Street and Macdowell Street while they explore opportunities for longer-term redevelopment of the site.

New Practice is keen for local youngsters to get involved with the ‘Corner for Johnstone project’ and have launched two challenges to provide them with the opportunity to take part.

The Crafting Design challenge, aimed at primary school pupils, aims to show youngsters how to create design ideas for the site using everyday recyclable materials available at home.

New Practice have also created a series of video tutorials to show secondary school pupils how to create a model of the site using SketchUp – a design software that architects use in their everyday practice.

Duncan Bain, associate at New Practice, told The Gazette: “These challenges are an opportunity for local young people to have a bit of creative input into a site that’s quite prominent in the centre of Johnstone.

“We’ve tried to make sure there’s an opportunity to learn a little bit about how architects and designers think and also to learn some of the skills and tools they use in their everyday work.”

Council chiefs said the art installation is part of ongoing efforts to boost town centres across Renfrewshire.

A spokesperson added: “We are delighted to be working with the people of Johnstone and the team at New Practice to help deliver the Corner for Johnstone project.

“This will transform the look of what has, sadly, become an eyesore at a prominent spot in the town centre by creating a temporary public art installation, with the permission of the landowner.

“The project is being funded through Renfrewshire’s share of the Scottish Government’s Town Centre Regeneration Fund and, while progress has been slowed up by the coronavirus pandemic, we are still working to use that money to deliver a range of town centre improvements across Renfrewshire.

“In Johnstone, that includes new lighting for Houstoun Square and shop refurbishments on the High Street, as well as working with Active Communities to bring the old police station in Quarry Street back into use as a community hub.”

For more information about the project, visit

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