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Beyond the Garret Artists' Studios Now: audio now available

On Saturday 16 May ACAVA participated in an event organized by Artist Development West Midlands and AirSpace Gallery which aimed to explore models of Artists' studios though a series of case studies and discussion at the Potteries Museum & Art Gallery.

A transcription of the case study provided by ACAVA's creative director Duncan Smith can be read in full below whereas his and the other participants contributions can be heard and/or downloaded in full in the links below, courtesy of AirSpace Gallery:

From notes by Anneka French (read full here):

Beyond the Garret : Artists’ Studios Today / Potteries Museum & Art Gallery, Stoke-on-Trent, 16.05.15
Duncan Smith, The Association for Cultural Advancement through Visual Art (ACAVA), London

ACAVA arose from the needs of artists. Duncan started working in a studio in a former school on Faroe Road, London in 1975. Since then the organisation has grown enormously. They have realised almost 40 studio buildings by being alert to opportunity and forming partnerships with local authorities and others.

Faroe Road, like many of ACAVA’s buildings, began in poor condition with dry rot and a roof in disrepair. Initially housing 9 artist studios, local political changes meant holders had to fight to remain. Eventually the building was bought by the Greater London Council and sold to the artists. They could affordably pay the mortgage and borrowed against the asset to acquire more buildings in London in the 1990s.

A former Vicarage in Hetley Road has become 12 artist studios and converted industrial space in Barlby Road formed 24 studios. Other properties include a shop on Charring Cross Road, a laundry at Phipps Bridge, potting sheds in Cannizaro Park and Hadleigh Old Fire Station, Essex. The Fire Station is an important community hub for diverse audiences and it had 10,000 visitors in 2014. A purpose built studio complex on Blechynden Road houses 24 studios and was facilitated by ACE and local charity funding.

Collaborative partners benefit in numerous ways from ACAVA’s work. ACAVA makes a cultural and an educational offer. As a charity it seeks to actively engage and benefit communities. The Sculptors in Schools project has placed a sculptor in residence at every primary school in Hammersmith to educate children and teachers, providing tools and opportunities to navigate mess and risk. ACAVA have worked with mental health services financed by the NHS and with young people not in education or employment.

ACAVA believe art is regenerative and revitalises culture. Their work is becoming increasingly difficult in London due to rising prices, competition for buildings and legal changes that prioritise housing. Duncan predicts a move away from London into cities like Stoke-on-Trent with an abundance of empty buildings.