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Uncategorized

Sadness as studios in Sneinton close after 14 years due to demolition threat

today3 July 2022 2

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The creative community has expressed its sadness at the news that One Thorsby Street has closed its doors for the first time in 14 years. The artist studios on Thoresby Street, off Newark Street in Sneinton, have been more than just a workspace but had become a community hub in recent years.

The closure is marked by the addition of a large print outside the building that announced the closure and acknowledged the contribution of the space to the city. It read: “In Loving Memory: One Thoresby Street: 2008 to 2022. A workspace, a gallery, a party zone, and beloved home to over 125 local artists, makers and creators. Let us go forward in peace.”

Freddy Griffiths, co-director of One Thoresby, said: “We have indications that this site was going to be redeveloped for a number of years so it didn’t come as a shock. We knew there wasn’t much security here but we didn’t really know how long we had. When myself and the other co-directors Sophie Mackfall and Ellen Angus were appointed, we were thinking about the building in terms of repairs that needed doing.”

Read more: Splendour Festival 2022: When bands and artists will perform

He added: “It’s difficult to get funding from philanthropic bodies if you haven’t got secure tenancy which we haven’t had. We decided ourselves when we closed rather than people turning up to say we had six weeks. We don’t know what will happen with the building but I can imagine it will be vacant for some time.”

The space has been a vital stepping stone for many of the artists after they graduate, especially from Nottingham Trent University art courses, and need a low-cost studio option while getting used to being a professional artist. “A group of graduates called Moot from Nottingham Trent University were offered the building by a local business as they weren’t using it at the time.

“They moved in while it was vacant imagining that they would only be there for a year but it ended up being 15. Over time, the organisation has changed quite a bit and people have come and gone,” Freddy explained.



The notice outside One Thoresby Street announcing the closure
The notice outside One Thoresby Street announcing the closure

He added: “When it started, they were very interested in showing the art and bringing international artists to the city but over the years we have had all sorts of events here. We’ve also had people who have graduated, and wanted to develop another skill that will help them supplement their income and their artistic practice. “

“Another way of looking at the building is that you have 30 people here who are all self-employed or own small businesses and they are contributing to the creative economy in a big way.” Over the years, the space has supported 125 creatives, highlighted in the pink sign the artists have hung outside to commemorate its 14 years.

There were 30 artists at the studios when they closed on Saturday, June 25, who will now need to find a new location for their creative work. One Thoresby has also provided gallery space for artists who are looking to put on a show quicker than the larger galleries which often work two or three years in advance.

It can often be difficult for emerging artists to get established enough to book shows or be included in group exhibitions at larger venues. It provides excellent experience in the practical side of art exhibition planning such as curation, hanging and marketing.



Artists at One Thoresby
Artists at One Thoresby

There are other spaces in the city that provide the same as One Thoresby but spaces are limited and, in some case, not available at all. The long term effect of this will mean artists unable to get a footing in the city they may have graduated from which means creatives will have to consider bypassing Nottingham when they decided to set up a studio or home.

“There are others such as Backlit Gallery or Primary Studios which is in Lenton. One thing that is really apparent is that they are pretty much full or oversubscribed as it is. While a number of our studio holders have managed to get other studios, there are a number of people looking for space and I imagine some of them may go to local cities such as Sheffield.”

Freddy added: “We are artist-led so if graduates want to come here then we are not like Contemporary who work three years ahead of time. You could literally come to us with an idea of something you wanted to do in the next six months.” Freddy highlights that One Thoresby has been looking for a new building in the city centre and he hopes they can get somewhere they can move into it. So far, efforts have been unsuccessful but they are hopeful.

“This is essentially how we came to occupy the building, the Moot group were doing stuff in Nottingham and the building owners read about it and offered the space. If you imagine this building was vacant, people could move in and occupy it so we’ve kept this building safe for 15 years and now it’s going to be redeveloped.”

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