At our Strategy Day yesterday, the ‘economy’ was put in a column of negatives because we have no control over it. But to me, the economy is always a positive! When there is a boom then there is disposable income and art is in demand. When there is a dip in the economy then property prices fall, buildings become available and opportunities to start new initiatives increase. It’s a win win for some artists!

The Whistle Art Stop has emerged because of the increasing cost of being an artist in London and the affordable and very attractive spaces available in rural areas. An old run down industrial estate is magic to the eyes of some artists. I remember how dramatically art sales dropped after 9/11 and how we were forced to start looking at other ways to survive. In East London, organisations started to look for better property deals for the arts including Bow Arts Trust who negotiated low cost live/work spaces on run down council estates due to be demolished. As one of the first artists (actually THE first) to move into one of those buildings, I expected to be there for two years but was there for over four years and they still continue now.

In Haltwhistle, the artists here are starting to take their own initiative. Looking at art from all angles rather than just a commercial one, the opportunities to create a living through the arts is become more and more feasible without losing integrity. At the Whistle Art Stop we make space for art. Through motivation and encouragement, we create an environment that nurtures creativity and business, hand in hand. Our first artist run initiative has recently opened at 3, Central Place where we sell the work done by local artists and even by the children who attend the SMARTZ club on a Saturday.

   

Our two art graduates are already finding that there are opportunities here too in the form of facilitating workshops, using the space for projects and to curate shows. Exciting times ahead for all.

We need more artists who share the vision we have to join us and to use the gallery space. If you would like to know more about this, then just give me a call on 07803 208161 or drop me an email at stop@twhistle.co.uk.

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