City Studios artists are;
Magnus Irvin, Tom Nicholls, Ute Kreyman, John Sexton, Amy Gwatkin, Anna Leader, Bobbi Fennick, Evelyn Albrow, Sarah Hull, Deborah Benjamin, Florence Peake, Alastair Levy, Jonathan Hoskins, Jab, Thomas Appleton, Saena Ku, Caren Hartley, Tim Mitchell, John Ford, Georgia Twigg, Daniel Dahl, Angus McQueen and Renee Sutherland.
Address; Unit 2, 30A Borwick Avenue, Walthamstowe, London E17 6RA
City Studios History;
City Studios was established in September 1995 as an extension of the Barbican Arts Group Trust’s studio provision. Five artists came together to form the studios. Three of them; Magnus Irvin, Bobby Fennick and John Sexton moved from the Trust’s existing studios in Hertford Road, London N1, and joined up with Ute Kreyman and Helen Boterill to establish a new space. Using their own labour and finances, supplemented with a small grant from the Barbican Arts Group Trust, they converted the space into functioning artists studios. After completion, City Studios was able to offer work space to four more artists.
The original City Studios were situated on the top floor of a building, originally an old Customs and Excise warehouse located in Underwood Street, N1 in the southern part of the London Borough of Hackney, close to the City of London. The space was converted into a semi-open plan environment with the flexibility to accommodate changing needs and special projects. The administration and organization of the studios was/is carried out by its’ members acting as a cooperative group.
The studios housed artists active in a wide range of media including painting, sculpture, drawing, film-making, print-making, performance, public art and installation work.
Early in 1996 we received a grant from the Foundation for the Sports and the Arts towards the costs of making repairs and improvements. Maintenance included replacing the badly damaged skylight running the length of the building with new glass, thus increasing the excellent natural light to the studios and solving the problem of water leakage. repair work was also carried out on the gully on the front of the building that suffered from serious leakage allowing quantities of water into the premises.
As part of their concern to make the studios a safe working environment, the artists brought the building into line with recommended safety requirements.Fire extinguishers were mounted at each end of the space, provision was made for hazardous substances, electrical wiring was replaced and certified, security was increased with the repair of doors and provision of better locks, hot water and toilet facilities were installed and the area was made a no-smoking zone.
During the Summer of 1999 we played host to an artist-in-residence for 6 months. Studio activities included open studio shows, tours for students and art exhibitions. Since it’s formation, artists working in City Studios have been involved in educational schemes, community liaison and public art projects. City Studios is a non-profit making, self funded organization and does not charge for studio visits, etc.
Eventually the development of the warehouse buildings into living accommodation in the Hoxton area saw the decline in the number of artists and studios.
In 2002 City Studios was forced to leave Underwood Street and found new premises in Alpha House, Tyssen Street in Dalston E9. This open plan space occupied the second floor of a building used as a warehouse for packing cases, located off Dalston Lane in the busy cosmopolitan area of central Dalston. As this space was larger than the previous one, we were able to convert it and offer working space to more artists – 15.
After working in this 2,000 sq ft space for 5 years, we once again found ourselves having to move to make way for more housing development.
Early in 2008, City Studios moved to a new space close by at 67a Dalston Lane, London E8. Having previously been used for an illegal vodka distillery, the building was in poor condition and much renovation work was necessary. The extra space available in this building – approximately 3,500 sq ft – that stretches over 3 floors, allowed the group to expand to a total of 23 artists. We also converted the central area on the middle floor to make free exhibition space; the ‘Sixty Seven A’ gallery. This showed work by studio artists and invited guests and was open to the public on a weekly basis.
In the summer of 2013, the group received an eviction notice and were asked to vacate the building by January 2014. We began searching for another building straight away but still had not found a suitable one by the end of the year. Fortunately, we negotiated a one month extension to our tenancy and finally found a promising location, an ex-garment factory, in January 2014. Using the groups’ own funds, we were able to solve the problems of asbestos removal, electrical rewiring, and security, and thereafter divide the space into individual studios. We made the full move in February 2014 and were able to offer workspace to a few more artists. City Studios now provides space for 25 artists and holds a 10 year lease on Units 2, 30a Borwick Avenue, Walthamstow, London E17 6RA where we will continue our policy to provide affordable studio space for artists and to maintain our artist group as a cohesive and creative unit.
City Studios receives no outside funding and is maintained entirely by it’s artist members.