Artistic alliance creates opportunities for all

Two brand new artist studios have been created in Merton, following an agreement between ACAVA (Association for Cultural Development through the Visual Arts) and Merton Council Arts Development team.

ACAVA have contributed over £20,000 towards renovating the two derelict buildings, which are situated in Cannizaro Park and Phipps Bridge, and transforming them into affordable, professionally equipped space for local artists. The agreement also includes approximately 100 days of artist workshop use for Merton’s schools and community groups, at no extra cost to the council. There will also be several “open studio” days where the public will be able to come and watch the artists work.

The building in Cannizaro Park is known as The Potting Shed. It was originally built for planting and potting seedlings for the gardeners in Cannizaro Park. The other building is known as The Old Laundry and is situated in Phipps Bridge. This used to be a laundrette for the residents of the Phipps Bridge estate. Both buildings have been derelict for several years.

ACAVA is a registered charity that manages 14 artist studio buildings in London. They have 25 years of experience renovating and managing artist studios as well as planning quality community artist workshops.

Duncan Smith, Artistic Director of ACAVA says, “This excellent collaboration between ACAVA and Merton Council will make use of derelict buildings, provide opportunities for local communities to work with professional artists, and create studios in a part of the city where artist have had great difficulty in finding affordable space to work.”

Councillor Su Assinen, Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Cultural Services at Merton, says, “This partnership will triple the number of affordable artist studios in Merton. As rents in London soar, it is becoming more and more difficult for artists to find affordable space in which to work. I am delighted that these two run down buildings will have a new lease of life that will benefit all the community.”

Studios cost £8.50 per square foot per year. To apply for a studio, please contact Merton Arts Development on 020 8545 3571 or email arts@merton.gov.uk

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