Sevenoaks gets in the picture with new arts centre

Published: Wednesday, 22nd August 2018

A new affordable centre for artists will open in Sevenoaks in September after the District Council invited Second Floor Studios and Arts to open in the town

The centre will be based over two levels in the Council-owned workspace above M&Co in the High Street. A total of 20 self-contained studios will be available to rent and already, more than 40% of the space has been taken by a broad-range of artists, from fashion designer makers to fine artists, who are looking forward to being part of this new visual arts community.

With its prime high-street location, the centre will be accessible to the public and the plan is to have a Winter Open Studios in November giving residents their first opportunity to explore the studios, meet the artists and purchase original, hand-made items in the run up to Christmas. There will be a spring Open Studios and there is an intention is to work closely with the Kaleidoscope gallery.

Second Floor Studios will also support the local community as its artists will gift some of their time to develop fellow studio members and support local projects with schools, charities and other groups.

It will also give a financial boost to the town and meets one of the Council’s objectives to support micro-businesses in the creative sector. This project is the beginning of a long-term commitment by Second Floor Studios and Arts to grow a vibrant visual arts community and to attract more creative industry micro-businesses to the area.

Cllr Roddy Hogarth, the Council’s Cabinet Member for Economic Development, says: “Attracting Second Floor Studio and Arts is such good news for the town and wider District both culturally and economically.

“We’re very excited about the benefits this the new studio will bring. Its artists can link up with local schools, groups and our existing artists, sharing their expertise and inspiring young people to join our creative sector, which is large and important part of the economy.

“Having these studios right in the centre of the town will also bring a welcome financial boost to shops, services and suppliers in the area.”

Nichole Herbert Wood, Chief Executive of Second Floor Studios and Arts, adds: “We know there are many talented and established visual arts practitioners in the Sevenoaks wider area and we are excited to bring those individuals together through this project as we know the impact a dedicated workspace can have on the evolution of their work. The Council had a vision to bring this project to Sevenoaks and we have been really impressed with their dynamic approach to working with us.

“We are looking forward to laying some of our organisational roots in a town we have personally adopted as our home. The short commute is a dream!”

Schools or charity groups who are keen to link up with Second Floor Studios and Arts, or artists who would like to know more about taking studio space, should email contact@secondfloor.co.uk.  

Second Floor Studio and Arts have been operational in London for 21 years with a tradition of supporting emerging and established artists of all ages and backgrounds. This year they opened long-term projects in Deptford and Wembley Park. The founders live local to Sevenoaks and the Council invited them to open a project in Sevenoaks.

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