The Mayor of London has announced plans to finance and secure affordable studios for artists as gentrification and astronomical rent continues to price them out of the capital.
Reporter: Yasmin Jeffery | Sub-Editor: James Brookes
Sadiq Khan will tackle London’s shortage of affordable creative workspaces with Arts Council England and Studiomakers, a collective of entrepreneurs and philanthropists.
The initiative will use a combination of public and private funds to provide loans to studio developers on the lookout for buildings, and will also permanently protect the workspaces.
Studiomakers are collaborating with local authorities, private landowners and property developers to keep existing creative spaces on the books and develop new ones out of unused spaces.
According to the Greater London Authority, approximately 3,500 artists will lose their workspaces in London between 2014 and 2019 due to financial reasons.
Speaking on his latest project, Khan said: “Culture is in the DNA of the capital but we cannot be complacent.
“As property prices rise and new areas of the city grow, artists are finding themselves unable to put down roots here.”
He added: “I am committed to improving access to dedicated, affordable workspace so that the next generation of creatives are given the extra support they require to flourish.”
The Mayor’s announcement coincides with Somerset House Studios’ relocation to the Strand in central London, where over 35 studios, rehearsal and project spaces have been created to house 100 artists.
The new experimental workspace offers artists residencies of up to two-and-a-half years, with rent calculated based on the average for similar creative spaces in London.
In an interview with The Art Newspaper, Somerset House director Jonathan Reekie said: “We feel strongly that artistic talent should not be marginalised and driven out of the city, but has a place in one of London’s iconic buildings.”
The first residents’ works will be exhibited from 27 October through 6 November.