One thing that artists have in common, whatever their practice, is the need for space to get projects off the ground. Be it a photography studio, painting workshop, filming location, rehearsal room, or even a small office for an editing suite, finding something that’s affordable, accessible and in a central location can be challenging.
Thanks to new local scheme Blank Canvas, vacant commercial properties such as shops and offices are being rented out for arts and educational purposes, including four-floor tower block Stonebow House. Situated above The Duchess and Nevermind, it is set to become a busy hive of activity for new projects and creative endeavours.
With a focus on accessibility rather than profitability, the four doughnut-shaped floors are being divided up into offices, studios, workshop and rehearsal spaces, with each floor operating independently to suit different requirements. Facilities include disabled access via a lift, multiple toilets on each floor, a small kitchen and stunning 360-degree views of the city.
The first floor has been taken over by Anonymous Bosh Theatre Company, who will partition the space into offices, costume and prop storage, and rehearsal zones for dance and theatre. Companies such a Redshirt Films, Six Lips Theatre and Mr Fox Upcycled Clothing Co have taken office space, but more is available for £40 per month including bills or the option to hotdesk at £20 per month. Short-term hire rates are £2.50 per hour/£20 per day. For general enquiries or viewings contact Anna Lewis at [email protected].
Arts Barge are using the second floor for visual artists, with studio and group workshop space available from £5 per hour/£20 per day, or £15 per week for anyone requiring short-term personal art marking space. All funds raised will go towards The Arts Barge Project to convert a barge for use as a unique social cultural space for York. Contact Hannah West at [email protected] for more details.
Plastic Fortune Studios, on the third floor, is a creative workspace, meeting place and event space for filmmakers, photographers, musicians and digital artists. Priority is given to members of the Plastic Fortune Collective but space will be available to hire on daily rates from September. Contact Ben Porter at [email protected] for more information.
The fourth floor is occupied by York St John as designated exhibition, drawing and photography space. The one proviso with the whole project is that a commercial tenant could move into Stonebow House at any time, so it is a temporary pop-up venture rather than a permanent solution to York’s artistic space issue. The money raised through rent and hire will go straight back into keeping the building running and continuing the work of local collectives Anonymous Bosh, Plastic Fortune and The Arts Barge.