As a new year starts, it’s a good time to look back and reflect on the events of the past 12 months.
2022 was a significant year for Creative Land Trust as it finished with us welcoming the first artists into one of our properties – but there was plenty more activity along the way.
In January we tendered for an activation project for Alice Billings House, a Grade II listed building in Stratford. Alongside our plans to turn the building into 30 studios, we want to see it become a destination as part of a wider High Streets strategy for the area.
We also welcomed artist Daniel Silver as a new Trustee.
In February we explored the impact of the pandemic two years on by revisiting some of the recipients of the Creative Workspace Resilience Fund. You can read our case studies with Tannery Arts and Siobhan Davies Studios by following the links.
In March we updated our sustainability policy. This includes information about how we measure our carbon footprint. You can find a further blogpost about this here.
We were also awarded further funding from the Architectural Heritage Fund for roof repairs at Alice Billings House. We are very grateful to AHF for the funding received towards this project.
After a tender process we announced that Mainyard Studios would take on blocks B and D of our Wallis Road site, providing over 20,000 square feet of studio space. They join Cell Studios who will lease the neighbouring unit.
We raised our first investment money, in the form of an impact loan from the NESTA Arts and Culture Impact Fund. The funding of £700,000 will go towards the fit out of Wallis Road, helping us to support our new tenants from the start.
During the year, we worked with Dr Rhian Scott, contributing to an in-depth consultation on the provision of artist workspace. Her report was published in June and can be found via this link.
In July we held an event in Stratford to launch and celebrate the first ten winning portraits from the My Alice Billings House Portrait Project Competition “The One I Admire”. The competition was organised by Paint the Change and funded via the Mayor of London’s High Streets for All Fund. The winning entries, and the stories behind them, can be found here.
We also welcomed artist Haroon Mirza as a new trustee and Adelaide Damoah as our newest Artist Ambassador.
Following on from our successful pilot project and event, we were awarded £170,000 of further funding from the High Streets for All Fund to support cultural activities at Alice Billings House and Stratford High Street. The funds will be used to provide support for outreach activities in the community to ensure that the spaces at Alice Billings House are relevant to local artists and the community.
In September we secured 4,600 square feet of space on the ground and mezzanine levels at The Verdean, a new development within the Friary Park estate in the London Borough of Ealing. This is part of a wider redevelopment of the area by Mount Anvil and housing association Catalyst. This space is our second virtual freehold (999 year lease) and will complete in August 2024.
Once again, the team gathered at Frieze to take in the wide range of museum, gallery, and partner events on offer. It was wonderful to see the city buzzing with art and creativity, and it reinforced the importance of supporting artists and creatives in their work in London.
In November we visited Peckham Levels, where we were hosted by Hatch and were able to tour the studios that have been built into what was a multi-story carpark. Creative Land Trust meets as a team once a month and we use this as an opportunity to see artists’ studios by hiring space from studio providers in different parts of London. Among those we have visited this year are SET Woolwich, Yonder Studios in Walthamstow and the Lewisham Arthouse.
We finished the year with a preview event at Block A of Wallis Road, our first acquisition. Here our tenants, Cell Studios, are offering a range of workspaces for creative practitioners at all career stages. We toured the brand new space as artists moved in to their new homes around us. It was a truly special place to finish the year.
As we look back on all we’ve achieved last we’d like to thank our friends and supporters for helping us to make space for art. A particular thank you to our founding funders for their ongoing support, and our many new partners.
Header image: photo by Sylvie Belbouab.