A disused and dilapidated shop has been transformed into an art gallery displaying the work of artists from across south-west Hertfordshire.

Watford Art Space, in Charter Place, is the town centre's first “pop-up art gallery”, where painters can exhibit discuss and sell their work.

Pieces of art, ranging from roses to foreign landscapes, showcase the talents of 23 local artists from the Herts Visual Arts Forum, many of whom were at the gallery today (Tuesday) alongside Watford Mayor Dorothy Thornhill for its grand opening.

Mayor Thornhill said: “One of the by-products of the recession is Watford Borough Council finds itself with a couple of shops it would like to let but finds itself able to facilitate something wanted by our artistic community for the long term.

“We have struggled to achieve a gallery in the town centre so this has meant we can grow the family (of gallery space) and see even more and better work.”

Mike Willison, chairman of the Hertfordshire Visual Arts Forum, said the opening of the gallery, the first of its kind in Hertfordshire, should be a “celebration”.

He said: “If there's one thing artists always want, it's somewhere they can display their work at a reasonable cost.”

Artist Liz Smith first emailed Watford Borough Council with her proposal for a town centre gallery in May and said officers were “very enthusiastic” about the idea.

She said: “The space is really impressive.”

When asked about the impact that a gallery such as this can have for local artists, she said: “It's immeasurable. As artists you want to get yourself known and get your work on a wall where people can see it.”

Liz, from Orchard View, Radlett, added: “I'm hoping this will be the start of more things in Watford. We want to keep holding exhibitions in the town.”

Another artist exhibiting her work is Jan Langton, from Oxhey Road.

She said: “It's fantastic; absolutely amazing.

“It's somewhere to see art. People think Watford isn't a place to buy art and we need to prove them wrong.”

The gallery is open until November 28, from 10am to 6pm Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays; from 10am to 9pm on Thursdays; and from 11am to 5pm on Sundays.

Though it is only initially set to be open for one month, the gallery could remain on a month-by-month basis until a prospective tenant registers an interest in leasing the council-owned premises.