By Tracy Mukherjee
A purpose-built Arts Studio has been funded at Scotland’s leading multi-disciplinary arts venue.
SWG3, a huge warehouse complex in Finnieston, brings a myriad of spaces for art, music and creativity under one roof. In conjunction with its partner the Clydeside Initiative for Arts Ltd (CIA), a year-round arts programme is central to the venue. The Yard Works programme has developed over the past 15 years across Glasgow, showcasing graffiti and street art to a wider audience, culminating is the Yard Works Festival in May. Now the team have been successful in obtaining a grant for £1,531,180 to build a purpose-built Yard Works studio in the SWG3 site.
The latest phase of the ‘masterplan’ will see SWG3 and the surrounding area transformed into an outstanding cultural destination.
With a sizeable investment from several national bodies, including Scottish Enterprise and Foundation Scotland, hundreds of artists will have a home to create their work. The Yard Works project at SWG3 has had a long-standing association with youth and community organisations and the new grant will help investment into SWG3s widely respected arts programme.
In its über-cool warehouse location on Eastvale Place, below the brick archways of the railway, the vision is to expand the art into the streets, an urban artwork district of cultural significance.
Andrew Fleming-Brown, Founder and Managing Director of SWG3 is delighted with the funding support. He notes that although he is thrilled by the opportunities the new studio will have on the Yard Works programme,
‘…the programme will not just benefit the area culturally, but also have wider social and economic impact through the community.’
With its longstanding ties to youth and community creativity, it is extremely important for the project to promote creative career paths especially for individuals furthest removed from the jobs market.
Paul Burns, Interim Deputy Director of Arts and Engagement at Creative Scotland another of the funding bodies, says it’s yet another step forward in the regeneration of Glasgow’s riverside.
‘…quality outdoor exhibitions, public murals in local neighbourhoods, the proposal will bring more art into the street, improving how people live, learn work and play.‘
He goes on to note,
‘The redevelopment demonstrates a clear understanding of the role art, design and creativity can play in community development.’
The plan also aims to use the unique cultural district planned by SWG3 as a catalyst to continue development of Glasgow Riverside Innovation District into a unique graffiti and street art district. Patrick, Yorkhill and Govan are targeted to be linked with large mural artworks on gable ends, creating an outdoor gallery trail.
The total development cost of the masterplan project is £7.1M, £3.75M having been raised to date, which will come from a combination of private and public sector investments.
And with the first phase of the plan almost completed, SWG3 are well on their way. The first phase of the company’s masterplan was to see improved infrastructure in place with better public access and connectivity.
And following the next phase of the plan, the expansion to the Yard Works studio will see the workshop heated, a 6-metre-high wall built for larger pieces, specialist equipment and flexible working spaces. This will be for individual artists or indeed youth and community organisations, groups who are very dear to the Yard Works ethos. With its glazed front façade, passers-by will feel and see the creativity of the artists first-hand.
With art brimming over into the street, it may just inspire more of us to get our creative juices flowing!