Art is on the move in Harrow as not-for-profit collective Usurp claims new spaces for exhibitions and launches a raft of community projects.

First among these is Open Spaces by Usurp Art, an empty shop on Station Road in Harrow that will serve both as an exhibition space and a platform for the charity Healthy Planets, which recycles books when charity shops, libraries and publishers don’t have space for them anymore.

Usurp got involved at the suggestion of a local Freecycle representative.

“It was the Freecycle coordinator in Harrow who linked us up with Healthy Planet and the empty shop,“ explains project manager Neeta Mistry. “There’s lots of generosity going around all over the place.

“We were approached to participate for a dual purpose: help give out the free books as part of Healthy Planet’s charitable tenancy agreement with the building’s management company (LCP) and to curate exhibitions and design workshops to encourage people to come in.

"We currently have textile artist Sba Shaikh in the space. She will be using it as her studio and inviting members of the public to see how she works.“

Sba is using the gallery to display her vibrant and imaginative textile wall art. She uses various techniques to produce and embellish the work such as silk screen printing, embroidery, bead work and carpentry.

“All this has happened because of the generous agreement in place between Healthy Planet and the management company. Depending on how long we have the space for, we hope to show more artists.

“Harrow Council is also in the process of developing a pop-up shop scheme and we are hoping to be a part of that in the future to carry on what we have started here.“

Over at Usurp’s original gallery space on Vaughan Road in West Harrow, another initiative is underway.

Community Collaborations is a social arts programme for people with learning disabilities and mental health issues. Usurp has already run workshops with Vaughan NRC and is now working with MENCAP. The group is also facilitating and supporting Rethink Harrow Community Choir to create art workshops this month.

Also at the Vaughan Road gallery is Arts Lab 2, which showcases the work of recent graduates and students from the University of Westminster campus at Northwick Park.

There will be performance, installation, sculpture and video created by 11 artists. There will also be a Pick and Mix Moving Art Night featuring live performance on October 18.

Arts Lab 2 is at Usurp Gallery, Vaughan Road, West Harrow. Details: