Traditionally, the artist’s studio has been a place where art works are created. They allow artists space to expand, be messy, store work and materials, and do a number of things that are inconvenient at home, in the kitchen, or in the shed.
But studios also offer many, many more benefits than space alone.
- They are communal spaces, where connections and collaborations come to life.
- They are social spaces, where peer-to-peer dialogue can flourish.
- They are project spaces, for experimenting and displaying work.
- They are professional spaces, where artists can invite curators, collectors and the public.
Whether your practice requires a lot of space, tools and materials or whether you need little more than a desk and laptop, a studio space has many potential benefits.
Here is what some ENAS Foundation studio-holders say about their studios:
My Studio at TAP has given me the space to work and talk about work and projects with the other studio artists.
Hazel Sankey, TAP, Southend
Since having a studio my practice has benefitted by being part of a community of artists. I have been directly involved in running a workshop with the public during last year's Art Trail, exhibiting with other HOFS artists and running demonstrations at Open Studio events. I have also gained commissions via the studio website.
Jane High, Hadleigh Old Fire Station
My studio has encouraged me to press on, being motivated by the friendly atmosphere created by the other artists in residence. Having affordable studio space that does not let in rain... who could ask for more?
John Espin, ACME High House Studios, Purfleet
Affordability of these spaces is key for all artists. Affordable studios are particularly valuable for emerging graduates, who typically feel disheartened by the pressure to make a living as a professional artist having lost access to their university studio space, tutors and ready-made peer group. As most artists take on part time jobs to support their practice, the studio represents an inclusive and affordable place that they can go to work, in order to feel like they are still remaining true to their ambitions. The National Federation of Artists’ Studio Providers periodically conducts surveys on rent affordability. You can find out more by clicking here.
How can studio space be negotiated?
In times of economic downturn, artists’ studios thrive. Areas that are traditionally thought of as down-at-heel can be transformed within a matter of a couple of years when artists move in. This is down to a combination of the cultural and community benefits that artists bring, in addition to understanding from landlords that artists will take care of their properties and attract future investments. Landlords want to ensure that their shop/ office units or industrial buildings are full whilst they negotiate leases with corporate clients or wait for new developments to begin.
Some forward thinking Councils are leasing their properties long term for very small amounts of money, as happened in Leicester recently. Leicester Print Workshop sold a £200,000 building for £1 under the condition that they refurbished the building with funding support from Arts Council England. Additionally, studios can claim 80% mandatory business rate relief if they register a charitable status. You can find out more about rate relief by visiting Business Link.
What does belonging to a network mean for artists’ studios?
ENAS aims to take all of the benefits of belonging to a studio group and magnify them across the county and further afield. A network of artists’ studios can:
- connect artists and activity
- broker relationships with curators, collectors and the public
- offer opportunities on a scale that individual studios might not have capacity or resources for
- promote artists, studios and areas
- facilitate and administrate initiatives allowing studio artists to focus on their practice
- empower artists to shape and contribute to significant strategic schemes