Arts Council England boosts creative future right at the heart of Blackpool

Abingdon Studios, Blackpool’s newest contemporary artists’ studio space, has secured vital support from Arts Council England to develop its investment in artists and creativity in its key town centre location (above the famous market place). The investment will strengthen the activities of the fledgling arts organisation and help secure its long term future as part of Blackpool’s growing arts economy.

The investment will provide a residency programme bringing eight artists for short periods to create new work in the town. The artists will be selected through a national call out in order to attract the most talented and innovative from across the UK. The Grundy Art Gallery is a key partner and it is envisaged that some of the residencies could lead to exhibitions or performances there, as well as at the Studios.

The aim is to further develop learning and professional practice with residency artists sharing their knowledge with aspiring creatives in Blackpool. Through its existing relationship with Blackpool and the Fylde College, Abingdon Studios will also invite over one hundred art students into the space to take advantage of these professional development opportunities.

Five Blackpool-based artists who currently have studios at Abingdon will also visit other similar studios across the region to explore new ways to develop their own artistic programme in the space. Through the visits, the Abingdon Studios hopes to place itself within the wider arts scene at a regional level and to develop into a sustainable model for contemporary art production in the heart of Blackpool.

Garth Gratrix, Places for Art Project Manager, said:

“Securing the funding from Arts Council England is a huge vote of confidence in the model we’re developing at Abingdon Studios. It will enable us to grow the skills and knowledge of the artists who are currently in the space and offer learning opportunities to local students that they wouldn’t otherwise have.

“It is an investment in the future of art production in the town – retaining and developing talent is key to a brighter and more creative future in Blackpool. We have a highly respected and nationally recognised gallery in the Grundy and now we have the some seed investment to ensure that an equally high standard of production can take place just a stone’s throw from its door.”

Cllr Gillian Campbell, Deputy Leader of Blackpool Council, added: “The Abingdon Street studios are all about using Blackpool as a place where great art and great artists can prosper.

“This commitment from the Arts Council will be vital in making sure that the studios can thrive in a way that will be extremely beneficial to Blackpool’s arts offer, which is helping the town bounce back as a town for culture, as well as for families.”

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