BLANK Canvas have opened their second second pop-up art space in York city centre, taking over an empty shop in Blake Street after doing likewise in Goodramgate earlier this year.

Part of the Skippco arts charity, the Blank Canvas arts programme is being run in with York BID, working in tandem to return vacant commercial premises to use on a temporary basis.

The Blake Street pop-up space – a double-fronted shop opposite The Imaginarium –is available for York artists to run exhibitions, demonstrations, talks and workshops, and Blank Canvas York Co-ordinator Phil Dodsworth is excited about this new opportunity.

"This is a great project to be involved in a good news story for York," he says. Not only does the city centre get an empty space back in use, but also visitors and local people benefit by being able to view and purchase original, unique pieces created by local artists. Other retailers benefit from the extra footfall the space generates and it brings a good buzz to the street.

"I also think it is more far-reaching than that. Tourists visit the space and learn about what York is doing with empty spaces and they carry that message with them when they return home. I would like to express my thanks to York BID for their support and the building owners and the Helmsley Group for allowing us to use the building."

The gallery space will be open daily with new artists introduced on a rolling basis. The first exhibition features pencil and collage portraits by Vincent Danks, textile art by Caroline Utterson and contemporary artwork by Phil Dodsworth himself.

Andrew Lowson, executive director of York BID, adds: "Even though we have one of the lowest rates of empty city=centre premises in the country, initiatives like this, which bring spaces back into use, help maintain a vibrant atmosphere and demonstrate the potential of the properties to prospective tenants. Hopefully, other landlords and agents in the city will get on board and consider this kind of short-term use too."

Opening times this weekend will be 10am to 5pm, Saturday and Sunday; future opening times are to be confirmed.