The Turner Prize winning artist Antony Gormley has thrown his weight behind Studiomakers, a new initiative which aims to help tackle the chronic shortage of affordable creative spaces in London. The initiative was launched last night by Outset Contemporary Art Fund, Second Home, the Mayor for London’s Cultural Team, Create and PLP Architecture in Antony Gormley’s studio in Camden.
Studiomakers has been set up to broker relationships between artists, designers and others wanting to establish creative workspaces and developers who are increasingly recognising the value of cultural activity within their projects.
In a survey of artists based or recently based in London, conducted by Outset in January 2016, half indicated that they were considering leaving London for cities such as Berlin, Brussels, New York, Glasgow, Manchester, Birmingham, Bristol and New York. The survey shows that artists feel strongly about quality and availability of studio provision in London, drawing a direct correlation between the quality of studio provision and their ability to make art.
Studiomakers is now appealing to London’s leading property developers to integrate artists’ studios into their new developments in London and to find spaces within existing developments, which can be adapted into artists’ workspaces. Studio spaces are diverse and can exist within a variety of buildings and configurations. They range from open access production space, to small individual units, desk space and shared studios.
The aim is to sustain London’s position as the most exciting, vibrant and dynamic city in the world. With visitor numbers to the capital continuing to break records – around 19 million international visitors last year – four out of five say culture is their main reason for coming to London, spending around £7.3 billion a year and generating £3.2 billion for the economy.
This success is fuelled by the thousands of artists who live and work in the city, making London not only a top destination but also giving it an international cultural cache, which translates into strong business branding, influence and innovation.
Munira Mirza, Deputy Mayor for Education and Culture in the Mayor’s Office, said: “Artists, designers and other creative people are hugely important for our city’s success. Not only does the work they produce generate billions for our economy, it is their presence that makes this such an exciting place to live, visit and do business in. The A-Z of Planning and Culture that we published last year set out some of the steps that can be taken to support creative workspace as our city grows. In acting as a matchmaker between developers and the creative sector, I hope Studiomakers will make a real difference to ensure creativity and innovation can continue to thrive in our city.”
Candida Gertler, Co-Founder Outset, said: By launching the initiative Studiomakers, we want to create a huge alliance of spirit between the creative community and developers. With Outset’s considerable networks in both business and culture and its unique skill in bringing these spheres together without endangering their respective integrities, we are looking to turn the ever-increasing studio crisis into an opportunity. Real action is needed and we know that it is in the developer community’s power to counteract the huge tide that is pushing artists and creatives out of London. Outset will do all we can to act as a catalyst and broker between those communities. Standing by and watching losing those who contribute so much London’s vibrancy and economy is not an option.”
Hadrian Garrard, Director, Create, said: “We are seeing artists struggle more than ever to find affordable space to live and work in London. There is a desperate need for this project which will develop new approaches to providing long-term, affordable workspace (and housing) for artists. We want artists to stay in our city, as neighbours, collaborators and visionaries.
Studiomakers is an initiative led by Outset in association with Entrepreneurs for the Arts partners Second Home, the Mayor of London’s Cultural Team, PLP Architect and Create. Founded by Outset and Second Home, Entrepreneurs for the Arts brings together like-minded organisations that want to provide entrepreneurial solutions to support significant cultural projects.
Photo: P C Robinson © artlyst 2016