Artists & makers
We believe artists and makers need time, support and advice to make their best work.
We offer support at all stages of their careers in through a range of artist-focused activities and events. Our aim is to create a stimulating and practical programme which responds to the needs and interests of our artistic community.
During our time in the Market Cross building we ran a number of artist focussed initiatives;
- Artist Surgeries: one-to-ones surgeries with one of the Smiths Row team to receive critical feedback and discuss professional development.
- Craft Collective: hosting of informal craft sessions where enthusiasts can come and share their knowledge, get inspired and troubleshoot.
- In Residence: an initiative which seeks to support and strengthen connections between artists and makers in the region through events and get togethers.
- Smiths Row Open: an open exhibition for artists and makers from across the East with mentoring sessions.
Researching Artist Studios
We are currently engaged in a period of research and development on studio provision for artists and makers in the East of England. The project was undertaken in response to widespread concern expressed by artists at the scarcity of affordable, accessible and sustainable workplaces for artists. Whilst it is a regional challenge, the situation is likely to worsen based on the effects on depleting studio space in London, predicted at 35% over the next 5 years.
Smiths Row’s vision conceives of a phased creation of studios, starting at Stowmarket station and then at Bury St Edmunds station, to form a network of artists’ studios for the East. These studios and their activity are imagined as the central components of an ambitious and innovative artistic programme connecting artists and communities through the railway through exhibitions, events and public art projects.
With Art Council England ’s funding, a combination of research and meetings were supplemented by a major consultation event, ‘Defining Space: Making Studios Work’: a day-long forum on 6th June 2016 which brought together artists, studio managers and other arts professionals to discuss artist workspaces. This forum gave us and participants greater and more in depth insight into the specific needs of artists from the region.
“I realised I need a multi functional space with access to various facilities and technical hire. It was so great to meet more creative people from this area. The day made me realise more than anything the need for a creative support network across the region...it was a fantastic springboard for ideas and connectivity.” Forum Participant
In Residence is an initiative which seeks to support and strengthen connections between artists and makers in East Anglia