Gasworks has received a £1million commitment from Arts Council England towards the purchase and renovation of its building. This is the first of a two-stage process and launches a £1.8 million capital campaign to secure the future of the organisation. The capital development project will represent a significant investment in emerging artists and in the cultural life in the capital.
Gasworks provides studios for London-based artists and delivers a programme of international artists’ residencies, exhibitions and participatory activities. Gasworks is also the hub of the Triangle Network, a network of artists and art organisations in over 30 countries around the world.
Securing a sustainable future for Gasworks
The pledge from Arts Council England is a huge step towards realising Gasworks’ once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to purchase and refurbish the building that has been its base for the last twenty years. The redevelopment will:
• Secure for the long-term one of the few art spaces in the Vauxhall area, where art is both made and experienced.
• Create a new fit-for-purpose participation space, to host community-led workshops for adults and children living in Gasworks’ vicinity.
• Build two additional studio spaces for artists, addressing the need for workspaces in South London at a time when major studio providers are closing their buildings.
• Enhance the ‘experience of art’ for visitors, providing a larger and more flexible exhibition space and creating better communal facilities.
• Improve the building’s environmental performance, upgrading the heating system and building insulation.
Need for the project
The redevelopment will secure and increase Gasworks' artists’ studio provision, responding to a critical and identified need for centrally located, affordable facilities where artists can develop their practice. Securing Gasworks’ future aligns with the Mayor of London’s Cultural Strategy: Cultural Metropolis, which identifies the continuing pressure on artists from increasing rents on short-term studio space: “the temporary use of vacant buildings for artists’ workspace has dominated the provision of artists’ studios which perpetuates the trend for artists studios to kick start regeneration, but then become victims of it when prices rise”.
The timely purchase and refurbishment of Gasworks will safeguard the future of its provisions in an area of London undergoing extensive regeneration including the Vauxhall and Nine Elms’ redevelopment (with new landmarks such as The Tower, the new American Embassy, Embassy Gardens and the Albert Embankment regeneration project), and the creation of ‘Vauxhall One’ Business Improvement District (BID).
In developing the project Gasworks has carried out extensive consultation with artists, local residents, community leaders and local teachers. The London borough of Lambeth has endorsed the project by awarding a grant to support the development phase of the project.
Realising Gasworks’ Capital Project
Gasworks has already begun the work involved in realising its ambitions and is currently recruiting a design team to help develop plans for the building. Construction work is scheduled to begin in 2014 and the newly refurbished building will reopen in 2015.
The capital campaign to raise the £800,000 required to match the £1 million pledge from Arts Council England will be formally launched in April 2013. Donations will be sought from individuals, the corporate sector and trusts and foundations; and in October 2013 a charity auction of donated artworks will be held at Christie's, the proceeds of which will support the project. Gasworks will make a second stage submission, with their developed proposals, to Arts Council England within the next twelve months for final Capital Investment Programme funding.
Alessio Antoniolli, Director, Gasworks & Triangle Network, said, 'We are delighted that the Arts Council is generously supporting the ambitious purchase, refurbishment and redevelopment of Gasworks. This vital funding will secure the future of our organisation and enable us to significantly expand the important work we do by providing affordable studio space for leading artists in central London, while acting as a hub for other grass-roots artists’ organisations worldwide. We look forward to developing the architectural plans for our unique building, improving our gallery, education and studio spaces while proactively seeking the remaining support and funding to realise our project.'
Peter Heslip, Director of Visual Arts, Arts Council England said: ‘Gasworks offered a compelling proposal and was successful at Stage 1 in a competitive capital round. We are delighted that this will now offer Gasworks the opportunity to purchase its building and secure its future. This National Portfolio Organisation plays an important role developing artists early in their careers and introducing international artists to the UK. We recognise the importance of the project which makes a difference to artists working and living in London and look forward to working closely with Gasworks as they develop this scheme for a second stage submission within the next eighteen months.
Our capital programme is focused on making world-class artistic centres more sustainable, enabling them to continue to thrive – and while Vauxhall goes through a period of change, Gasworks can remain at its heart, delivering great art for the local community'.
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