Artist Charles Jeffrey working in Somerset House Studios. Photo: Dan Wilton.

London’s Mayor Working to Secure Cost-Effective Studios for Artists

To fight against the city’s high rent costs, London’s mayor Sadiq Khan is setting up the Creative Land Trust. Made from a combination of private and public funds, it aims to ensure that people who provide spaces for artists to work can receive loans to buy their buildings and ensure that these spaces are invariably protected, writes Anny Shaw of the Art Newspaper.

Studiomakers, a group of philanthropists and entrepreneurs, are collaborating with Khan to fight gentrification and the city’s exorbitant rents by working with landowners and developers to keep existing studios while also creating new ones. According to the Greater London Authority, between 2014 and 2019, 3,500 artists are expected to lose their workspaces in the city. Said Khan, “Culture is in the DNA of the capital but we cannot be complacent. As property prices rise and new areas of the city grow, artists are finding themselves unable to put down roots here. I am committed to improving access to dedicated, affordable workspace so that the next generation of creatives are given the extra support they require to flourish.”

Khan’s announcement comes on the heels of the Somerset House Studios launch in central London, where 36,000 square feet of office space has been converted into more than thirty-five different kinds of studios for about one hundred artists. A team of architects, artists, fashion designers, and musicians—such as Larry Achiampong, Christian Marclay, and Katie Paterson—have occupied the spaces over the last several months. A number of them have even moved into Somerset House after being priced out of their old workspaces. Rents are being worked out according to the London average for studios. Somerset House will also offer residencies of up to two-and-a-half years, focusing on multidisciplinary artists who also choose to work collaboratively. An open application process for twenty-five new residents is starting today.