Friday, 20 December 2013

Celebrating 20 years: Highlights of 2013 at East Street Arts

With 2014 almost upon us, Leeds Art Scene invited East Street Arts to share its highlights of the past year.

2013 has been a busy one at East Street Arts. It marked the 20th anniversary of the organisation, which was set up by Jon Wakeman and Karen Watson at East Street Mills in 1993.

To celebrate this landmark year, Leeds-based designers Thompson Brand Partners created a new brand identity, complete with a sparkling website that will be launched in the coming months.

East Street Arts is now the largest charitable provider of affordable workspace for artists outside of London, and a new permanent studio site was launched at Gateshead Old Town Hall, in partnership with Sage Gateshead in 2013.

In Situ spaces, including sites in Wrexham, Pontefract, Barnsley and even Hornsea, have created studios, exhibitions, events and pop-up galleries in locations across the country, culminating in a BBC feature last month ‘The Creative Boom in Empty Buildings’.

Warren Street, one of our temporary spaces in a former lighting showroom in Central London, hosted an array of exhibitions of members’ work and a group show with NY-based Imagination in Space.

As part of the exchange members exhibited work with Test Space, turning a working architect’s office into a temporary art gallery and shop for a one week pop-up on the Lower East Side.

Colony, Anarch’s 16 day programme based on the letters of Gordon Matta-Clark, features a commission by Andrew T Cross and is currently open at Warren Street until the 20th December.

In October, the annual Open Studios event took place at locations across the North.

East Street Arts commissioned the team at Mexico to curate an exhibition from members’ work at Union 105 in Chapeltown. And events took place at various sites over the weekend

Juliana’s Bike – a festival of art and cycling - was held during the summer in Leeds. Four times BAFTA nominated Blast Theory are world renowned as pioneers of interactive art and immersive theatre, they brought their Rider Spoke project to Patrick Studios encouraging cyclists to discover the secrets and confessions of the city’s streets.

As part of the city’s preparations for 2014’s Tour de France, Juliana’s Bike formed part of the Grand Départ Cultural Festival.

This year also saw the launch of the first specialist ceramic facility in Leeds.

Based at East Street Arts’ Barkston House studio in Holbeck, eight studios spaces have been developed with a functioning classroom and a separate kiln room.

Facilities include three kilns, a pug mill, an electric wheel, washout sinks, purpose-built mobile drying storage, and ‘hot benching’ for short-term firings/projects.

Coming up next year, Delta, East Street Arts’ new International Residency and Exchange Programme, begins with a residency by French artists Arnaud Verley and Philémon « Société Volatile ».

They are developing a sculptural work inspired by the concept of a seer, with sound recordings from the local area as part of their installation.

Another major project for 2014 is the launch of the first Live/Work space for artists in Leeds.

Based in Beeston, it aims to provide affordable creative live/work space, new opportunities for artists, and will also support East Street Arts’ community engagement programme.

If you are interested in finding out more about East Street Arts, or would like to become a member of our community, visit:

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