Red Herring Studios, one of Brighton & Hove’s longest-established and successful artist cooperatives, is seeking new premises after 18 years of productivity in its current location in Hove.
The buildings at Unit C, Westerman Complex, School Road, Hove, BN3 5HX – also home to Westows indoor play centre, Cliffords car parts shop and Written Word church – have been earmarked for redevelopment as houses.
Red Herring is the longest-residing tenant of the School Road site. Its current lease ends in June 2017, which could force all of its 23 artists to find a new home in the next few months. It is testimony to its professional members that Red Herring has been a reliable and responsible tenant for 32 years.
With property prices rising, and suitable industrial sites getting scarcer, it will be a challenge to find an affordable new home for this well-established and vital artistic community.
While this is an imminent concern for Red Herring, it also raises questions for the wider community of Brighton & Hove. Gentrification has made living and working in the city beyond reach for much of the creative community that defines its culture.
Chris McHugh, co-founder of Red Herring (in 1985) and still an active studio member, said: “How do we value art and creativity in our community? How can we expect artists to produce the work that is enjoyed in galleries, private homes, schools and public spaces without affordable studios in which to make it?”
The studios have a rich and successful history in the city. Although their current tenancy has been their longest, they have moved between six different venues over the years, including Phoenix Studios in Brighton. They have transformed each of their new homes – often large, vacant buildings – into hives of creative industry.
Current artists include painters, ceramicists, sculptors and illustrators, reflecting its commitment to a wide range of artistic practices.
artists have exhibited and delivered projects locally, nationally and internationally. Previous members set up Fabrica Gallery in central Brighton, and Turner Prize shortlisted artist Vong Phaophanit numbers amongst its alumni.
This thriving arts collective now seeks another large, sustainable space that can accommodate a diverse range of artists and makers, within commuting distance of Brighton & Hove. Current premises stand at nearly 8,000 square feet (740 square metres), but any suitable buildings – larger or smaller – will be considered.
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