Plans for inclusive arts organisation The Art House to develop Drury Lane Library as a vibrant artist-hub in the centre of Wakefield, West Yorkshire, are one step closer to being realised.
Arts Council England (ACE) (www.artscouncil.org.uk) has awarded the national visual arts organisation £1,300,440 to convert and refurbish the former library building, via the ACE Capital investment programme, funded through the National Lottery.
Created in 1994 by a group of visual artists to campaign for equality of access to opportunities for work, training and exhibiting for disabled and non-disabled artists, The Art House is currently based in a purpose-built centre, which opened in Wakefield in 2008. To support all visual artists in the development of professional practice and realisation of their creative ambitions, it provides a portfolio of local, national and international opportunities for its members, including residencies, exhibitions, training, membership and one-to-one advice.
Since completing the first development phase. The Art House has developed a diverse programme to support disabled and non-disabled artists and bring art to new and existing audiences. This includes launching the SOME TIMES residency programme, supporting disabled and non-disabled artists to exhibit locally, nationally and internationally and managing the successful Wakefield Artwalk.
This second phase will see The Art House come of age, creating an additional 34 accessible artists’ studios as well as public spaces. It will enable more disabled and non-disabled artists to work side-by-side whilst attracting new artists and audiences to the area. Alongside The Hepworth Wakefield and YSP (Yorkshire Sculpture Park) it will locate Wakefield as an important centre for the visual arts in the UK.
Anne Cunningham, CEO of the Art House said: “Arts Council England is vital to the support The Art House provides for disabled and non-disabled artists, including the contribution we make to the visual arts in Wakefield district.”
Cluny Macpherson, Regional Director, Arts Council England said:
“Our lottery investment in The Art House will help increase studio provision and other opportunities for visual artists, all in an exemplary and accessible working environment that meets everyone’s needs.
The Art House is a brilliant resource for Wakefield and Yorkshire. With leading facilities, it can host national and international artists, provide a flexible and supportive workspace for visual artists in the region and showcase the best of the visual arts to people in Wakefield. It is a very real example of how lottery investment enriches the communities we live and work in.”