Over the moon to announce that Arts Council England have awarded us funding to develop the next stage of Art Hotel plans!
What a January! Those who have been following the journey since it was a seed of an idea in 2016 will know this project has been a slowwww labour of love. You can read the initial post that catalysed plans here. Now, thanks to Arts Council’s support, we’re moving plans forward.
This follows previous funding from UnLtd and Paul Hamlyn Foundation who have supported initial scoping, campaigning, exploring options, speaking with property developers, visiting other sites and widening conversations. Through this, we travelled, learned, listened, shared and have developed a business model that reinvests in the arts and artists, inspired by other culture-led hospitality projects. More on this in a future post.
Art Hotel marks a fundamental shift in the focus of our organisation and we’re super excited. While our mission has always been to support healthy, sustainable and equitable creative practice, we have - to this point - developed platforms, programmes, productions and temporary methods of supporting artists. However, we are now exploring how our methodologies and practices could develop place-based, sustainable, infrastructural solutions, within which civic-minded artists and activities can thrive. We think of the hotel as a platform for instigating change in the arts and to promote new methods of working within a circular economy. It’ll hopefully be the first of many projects to come.
We were offered a number of sites across the city last year, but we thought it crucial to measure that opportunity alongside our ethical standpoint - would this opportunity cause harm in the longterm for the communities we’re in service to? 5 year leases in a rapidly gentrifying area? Loss of social and affordable housing in a zoning agenda? Questionable ownership structures? Free space for artists until high-paying tenants choose to get proximate and therefore drive value prices sky-high? Truth be told, at no point have we been so desperate for Art Hotel to exist in any place for us to compromise on fundamentals.
So What Next?
Over the next couple of months, we are excited to open up the process publicly and negotiate a deal on a site that presents major opportunity. We’ll be setting up the Hotel’s Steering Group and Artist’s Council, plus we’ll announce details for a multi-day pop-up to interrogate plans deeper. Artists, keep eyes peeled for commission opportunities. We’re also bringing back an internship programme and we welcome Kayla as Executive Assistant.
Stay tuned for further details and sign up to our mailing list for updates.