The Art Studio is currently the only neighbourhood-based arts project in Sunderland, delivering a service to all communities across the city. It offers a supportive environment, studio space and materials for people to find a creative way of expressing themselves. This exhibition presents a selection of works from the past and present.
The Art Studio was established in 1986 as a 3 year pilot project to promote the welfare of people experiencing mental ill health by providing the opportunity to develop their skills in the visual arts. It was set up as a response to the government’s community care programme and as a continuation of the Artist in Residence scheme at Cherry Knowle Hospital. The project was initiated by Artists Agency (now Helix Arts) and was financed through the Health Authority’s Urban funding programme.
It started with two Artists in Residence, a full time painter, Derek Hill, and a part time sculptor, Chris Sell. In the
beginning Derek and Chris literally carried their wares around the City running workshops in an effort to “drum up business”. The first real home was a building in Norfolk Street where the artists in residence developed a vision that was destined to become ‘The Art Studio’. Their unique approach was to create a non-stigmatised environment and encourage people to be artists in their own right by working alongside them on a daily basis.
In 1989 The Art Studio outgrew Norfolk Street and Sunderland Council provided premises, first in Sans Street and its
present location in Hind Street. Following this relocation The Art studio extended its target area to citywide and beyond.
Exhibitions around Britain and in all of the major galleries in the North East; often linked with workshops, allowed the wider public access to the unique quality of The Art Studio.
The Art Studio website: www.theartstudio.org