Over its 30 year journey from a studio provision in East Leeds, East Street Arts has remained an artist-led organisation supporting artists and the communities in which they live and work. Its successful model of growth and resilience became the premise for the development of a sector support programme, ensuring knowledge and experience is passed on to artist groups and spaces.
Guild is a five year development programme which began in 2018 and works with a cohort of 25 artist-led spaces spread across 14 counties. A major goal of the programme is to make £100,000 available for them to conduct feasibility studies on their existing and future spaces.
Obtaining seed funding can be a gruelling process. As an organisation embedded within the arts industry East Street Arts are well aware of this and have taken the initiative to give back to other artist-led spaces.
Karen Watson, Artistic Director at East Street Arts said: “We are delighted to provide funding and support to artists spaces as part of their plans to become sustainable and support their artists and communities to thrive.”
This fund, raised by East Street Arts, was managed through an application process including an independent selection panel.
The 12 recipients are:
- Abingdon Studios – Blackpool, a contemporary, visual art studio and project space based in the heart of Blackpool Town Centre
- Artworks – Halifax, an Art School in Halifax with extensive creative production facilities, equipment and studio space
- Babeworld – London, Babeworld seeks to create a more representative art world for those who are marginalised in the arts through the creation of art, fundraising, grants, and the facilitation of events
- Bon Volks – Margate, a member-run co-working space based in Margate
- Bricks – Bristol, a social enterprise based in Bristol that supports local creative communities
- Contemporary Other Birmingham
- Grief Series – Leeds, The Grief Series is a sequence of seven projects by Leeds-based artist Ellie Harrison focussing on grief and bereavement
- Haarlem Artspace – Matlock, Studios and artist space based in rural Matlock
- MAFWA – Leeds, a theatre group that brings refugees, asylum seekers and settled communities together in Leeds
- ORT Gallery – Birmingham, an artist led exhibition space in Birmingham
- Rising Sun – Reading, an independent arts centre in Reading
- Two Queens – Leicester, an artist run gallery and studios in Leicester
Funding will be used for a range of feasibility studies including the exploration of supportive spaces for neurodivergent artists and the integration of digital and physical spaces to support the move from leasehold to purchase and community asset transfer.
Guild will continue to support each group in taking the necessary steps to secure funding to carry out the proposed work and development.
Matt Smith, CEO of Key Fund is a Guild partner and was part of the Seed Fund selection panel.
Matt said: “It is incredibly positive to see East Street Arts, having walked the path themselves, using their experience and insight to support other organisations in taking the next steps on their own journey. I believe that this kind of experienced peer based support and grant giving can help people to make huge leaps, and really adds value to the whole process”.