The educational arts charity Bow Arts has converted the former home of Rupert Murdoch’s publishing company News International in Wapping, east London, into a new complex housing 90 artist studios, which is due to open in June. The site, which accommodates a listed rum warehouse, was once home to the Sun, Times, Sunday Times, and News of the World (News International is now known as News UK).
“These new studios come at a crucial time when young artists are being increasingly pushed out of the city by rising rent prices,” say the organisers.
“It’s a fabulous Grade II-listed building where we will create affordable work spaces for early career artists and young designers, as well as access for events in the amazing vaulted cellars that stretch for about a third of a kilometre the entire length of the building.”
The property developer St George plc, which bought the 15-acre site in 2012, has donated the building to Bow Arts. Arts Council England is also backing the project. Meanwhile, a Kickstarter fundraising campaign aims to raise £50,000 by 17 April for the initiative (£13,252 has so far been pledged; the project features on Art Basel’s crowdfunding website which supports non-profit visual arts organisations).
Bow Arts, which was founded in 1995, runs five venues across east London including the Nunnery, a contemporary art gallery in Mile End. The organisation also operates a live/work scheme across a number of sites in Bow, which provides housing for practising artists.