A Creative Community Hub
The aim of the Artspace project is to take empty high street shop units and spaces, and transform them into gallery/teaching spaces. Using this model we are able to present a non-threatening, safe environment within which to engage with learners and encourage the public to take up further learning.
The space also acts as a useful networking point for artists, tutors and learners providing information on arts and cultural events happening in the local area. We offer free arts and crafts classes to everyone and free exhibition space for local artists.
Artspace is a partnership between the Adult Learning Service at Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council and the charity Dudley Arts Council.
From October 2010 to September 2011 Artspace has been based in Mill Street, Brierley Hill. Our first Artspace was in Dudley Town Centre the previous year.
In that time we have created partnerships with other organisations including English Heritage and Audiences Central. We have reached hundreds of new learners and exhibited many artists from first time exhibitors to established names such as Martin Parr.
Artspace’s strength lies in its informality. Learners are able to drop in to taster sessions, which removes the need to commit to a pre-planned series of workshops – this can be off-putting to some individuals. After they have attended these tasters we are then able to inform them of the variety of adult and family learning activities available in Dudley and many do then move on to other more formal courses or clubs.
Another strength, which makes this project so successful, is the way that we engage with local artists and offer free exhibition space. This makes for a very different environment to other learning spaces as learners and professionals are able to mix and share their work in a high street environment.