About Us and what we do

Don’t know anything about us or what we are all about and want to find out more? Well this is probably the place to start.

These About Us pages will give you broad overview of what we are all about but with 25 plus years of activity there is a lot to tell!

This site is brand new for 2020 and we will continue to add new and old ‘stuff’ as we go. Keep visiting us, as there will always be something new to have a look at.

"To take a role in the development of a city that doesn’t displace people who live and work there." The Directors; East Street Arts

Our mission

Through our interventions in art, education, environment, public space and regeneration we will work towards securing better livelihoods for artists and our neighbours. In all of our work we aim to address issues of economic and commercial decline in towns and cities, develop research and knowledge for the sector, and support others to think differently about models and ethics of working.

A snapshot of who we are and what we do

East Street Arts started in 1993 in Leeds by two artists who set out to change the lack of infrastructure available for artists living and working in Leeds – an economically thriving city.

Founded on a broad definition of visual art that includes traditional disciplines of painting and sculpture and more specifically socially engaged practices, crafts/makers, radio, sound, street and public art the founders wanted to ensure on-going professional support was available for working artists.

Becoming a charity in 1998, the organisation is a leader within the artist-led sector, championing artists to:

  • Be self-determined and to take control
  • Incite change and influence decision-makers to improve people’s lives and environments

By 1999 we had secured much needed capital support from Arts Council England, Leeds City Council and European Regional Development Fund to purchase and refurbish St Patrick’s Social Club in the East of the city. The completion of Patrick studios in 2004 gave us stability and a bespoke venue to operate from offering artists warm, clean and accessible studios and a large open project space.

Our Leeds

Our roots are firmly planted in this area of Leeds – Mabgate, Burmantofts and Lincoln Green. We have recently purchased and converted the Convent next door to Patrick Studios into Convention House – a new venue for artists and audiences to explore technology, art and the environment. We have also purchased the old presbytery and this will open as the permanent home for our Art Hostel, a 60 bed venue in 2021. Looking outward we have initiated and are supporting a Neighbourhood Plan for the area conscious of the encroaching growing city and the dangers of re-gentrification.

The development of our studios, facilities and project spaces includes Union 105 in Chapeltown, Barkston Studios in Holbeck, Leeds Print Workshop cooperative on Vicar Lane and Artist House 45 in Beeston. Supporting a community of 100s of artists and creative businesses. We want to see them continue to thrive and engage with city developments and aspirations. As such, they significantly contribute to the economic and social capital and identity of Leeds.

Artists

Our starting point will always be artists, as we believe they have the talent, energy, ideas and determination to change our worlds. We underpin all our work with artists support programmes including our SSO funded project Guild.

We raise funds for and initiate an on-going range of projects that support locally based artists. Bringing artists from all over the world to Leeds through commissions, residencies, and events.

These activities position artists, young people and neighbours in taking an active role to:

  • Effect change in the places they live and work.
  • Intervene in the power of hierarchies, subjective judgements and distribution of wealth.
  • Take a role in the development of a city that doesn’t displace people who live and work there.

Our passion be active neighbours inspired us to grow and develop our experiences of working across place, art, enterprise and hospitality and we now operate a range of temporary spaces, consultancy services, artists support programmes and projects across the country and internationally.