Last of Hamilton Bequest on show at Kelvingrove

Last of Hamilton Bequest on show at Kelvingrove

The last of the 92-year Hamilton Bequest of oil paintings to Glasgow Museums has gone on show at Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum.

TAITMAIL  The pit and the panjandrums

TAITMAIL The pit and the panjandrums

Both our national opera houses are in trouble this week, in quite different ways. One of the issues might have huge repercussions, the other smaller ones.

Dancing into the classroom

Dancing into the classroom

Diane Parkes on a DanceXchange initiative that is taking dance into Birmingham classrooms

Antarctic Copperfield star of Dickens show

Antarctic Copperfield star of Dickens show

This battered copy of Charles Dickens’s novel David Copperfieldi s what kept half of Captain Scott’s team entertained as they wintered in an ice cave while their leader led the expedition for the South Pole in 1912.

Worthing’s theatres and museum to cut free from council

Worthing’s theatres and museum to cut free from council

Worthing’s three theatres and museum, currently owned by Worthing Borough Council, are to go it alone.

Arts worth more to UK economy than agriculture

Figures released today by Arts Council England show that the arts and culture have grown by £390m in a single year, overtaking agriculture as a contributor to the UK economy.

Bristol ‘our most cultured city’

Bristol ‘our most cultured city’

Bristol has come top of a list of 20 best UK cities for arts and culture, with London only fourth.

Liz Stevenson takes over at Keswick

Liz Stevenson takes over at Keswick

Theatre by the Lake in Keswick has appointed Liz Stevenson as their new artistic director to work with executive director James Cobbold.

Dukes loses artistic director post in shake-up

Dukes loses artistic director post in shake-up

The Dukes in Lancaster is losing its artistic director, Sarah Punshon, as a result of cuts in its local authority funding.

ACE’s £3m more for diversity

ACE’s £3m more for diversity

Arts Council England has committed another £3m to encourage organisations run by BAME and disabled people.

Music agent joins diversity struggle

Music agent joins diversity struggle

A classical music agency has set up a foundation to support diversity and inclusivity in the arts.

Michelangelo comes to Hampshire

Michelangelo comes to Hampshire

The ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, Michelangelo’s painted masterpiece, is to come to Winchester this summer in a photographic project under licence from the Vatican.

Morris’s Cotswolds ‘heaven on earth’ to get £6m upgrade

Morris’s Cotswolds ‘heaven on earth’ to get £6m upgrade

Kelmscott Manor, the inspirational Cotswolds retreat of William Morris and his family, has opened for its last season before the start of a £6m project to secure its future.

THE WORD  Can the arts help bridge Britain's divides?

THE WORD Can the arts help bridge Britain's divides?

Jill Rutter, director of strategy and relationships at the think tank British Future, is co-author of its new report Crossing Divides: How arts and heritage can bring us together.

Blake – by himself

Blake – by himself

This is believed to be the only self-portrait by the poet, artist and visionary William Blake (1757-1827), which will be seen in public in the UK for the first time in a Tate Britain exhibition this autumn.

THE ART OF PHOTOJOURNALISM Image of the month

THE ART OF PHOTOJOURNALISM Image of the month

Three Queens, Westminster Hall, February 1952, by Ron Case.

Campaign to fight mental illness crisis among musicians

Campaign to fight mental illness crisis among musicians

Two-thirds of our musicians, three times more than the general public, suffer from depression and need help, according to Help Musicians UK, amounting to a crisis.

GOOD PRACTICE GUIDE	The growing challenge of creative ambition

GOOD PRACTICE GUIDE The growing challenge of creative ambition

Moya Maxwell, executive director of Shobana Jeyasingh Dance since September 2018 having come from the Royal Institute of British Architects, on the joys and hardships of managing a small arts company

THE WORD  Looking in the mirror of art

THE WORD Looking in the mirror of art

Jacqui O’Hanlon, RSC’s director of education, reflects on the 14-18 NOW legacy creative skills programme, Make Art Not War

 Students decide to ‘Make Art Not War’

Students decide to ‘Make Art Not War’

Thousands of 16-18-year-olds have responded to the challenge “What does peace mean to you” with works of art.

TAITMAIL   Arts in print – a critical juncture

TAITMAIL Arts in print – a critical juncture

By Patrick Kelly

A tweet from a frustrated music critic announces the shrinking of arts coverage in the venerable Glasgow daily, the Herald.

Manchester – for the Greater Good?

Manchester – for the Greater Good?

Patrick Kelly takes a look at Greater Manchester’s first cultural strategy.

Robin gets another string….

Robin gets another string….

Robin Hood, the Grade II listed statue outside Nottingham Castle, is to get a new bow after it was vandalised.

MY STORY Enter the unexpected – Judith Dimant goes Wayward

MY STORY Enter the unexpected – Judith Dimant goes Wayward

Wayward is a new production company specialising in new work from unexpected sources. Its first production opens at the Barbican Theatre on March 28, an adaptation by the Irish playwright Enda Walsh of Grief is the Thing with Feathers by Max Porter, starring Cillian Murphy. Wayward’s founder and producer is Judith Dimant

Wood Green’s Chelsea

In a North London suburb a municipal building is being turned into a hotel for artists

The large building almost opposite Wood Green Tube station is an unassuming four storey Art Deco pile identified on its face by five green plaster panels. The middle one declares “Northmet” -  The Northern Metropolitan Power Company – and the others explain “Lighting”, “Heating, “Cooking” and “Power”.  The ground floor frontage is clad in the same municipal green.

The modest appearance of 13-27 Station Road, Hornsey, is deceptive. Almost nothing is known about its history except that it was built in 1925 for Northmet, architect and builder unrecorded, and in 1963 it was taken over by Haringey Council to be its municipal offices until five years ago.

Yet it could be London’s version of Manhatten’s famous Chelsea Hotel, home at different times to the likes of Janis Joplin, Dylan Thomas, Sid Vicious and Brendan Behan.

In May, 13-27 will reopen as Green Rooms, devised and designed as an artists’ hotel with beds for as little as £18 a night. It will have a bar, a restaurant which will also be an incubator for young restaurateurs, a large foyer with a performance space, and a large top floor rehearsal/exhibition space that will also be available for locals to use. There will be some en suites for up to £60 a night and a couple of longer term ateliers with mezzanine workspaces.

Behind the project is Nick Hartwright (right), 39 and from Leystonstone, who is a social entrepreneur. He made his fortune designing and selling rugs through his The Mill Co Project, but since 2010 has put his ingenuity into taking unused buildings on short leases to create artists’ studios, mostly in London’s East End.

Green Rooms moves his social entrepreneurship into new territory.

“When creatives come to London to work in theatre and music there’s nowhere for them to stay, hang out with people of their own sort and have the kind of conversations that turn into projects” he says. “What there is is either really poor or very expensive.”

He began with his The Mill Co Project partner Claire Martin with a warehouse in Bethnal Green which they turned into a gallery space, then switched to studios – they now have eight sites. The notion of somewhere to work and maybe somewhere to stay has grown into “somewhere to stay, meet, rehearse and develop ideas” he says. “I took one look at this place which Haringey Council was looking for a new use for, and I knew I had the place”.

The Green Rooms project is almost a paradigm of modern cultural entrepreneurships, based on layers of partnerships. He has the building on a minimal long-term lease from the council which has also committed £40,000, and the support of the Greater London Assembly’s High Street Fund with £140,000.

Hartwright has put his own money in, and there’s investment from the entrepreneur Kurt Bredenbeck, founder of the now fashionable Hoxton Hotel, as well as from angels such as the ClearlySo impact investment firm whose modus is to deliver social or environmental impact as well as financial profit.

In fact, the hotel is being created for under £1m, Hartwright says, through using teams of specialists rather than a single contractor which has probably saved £2m. He also negotiated extremely favourable terms with the architects, SODA, the young West End partnership whose success with other projects allows them to charge only a modest fee with a social enterprise such as this; it’s the same with Hypnos who is designing the beds.

The existing building, fortunately, was built to high specifications, an early and uncomplicated steel box frame in which there are no asbestos complications. The council had covered the oak parquet floors and hung false ceilings over the plaster mouldings in the main rooms and mahogany roofed former warehouse spaces, and all this is being restored. But nothing had been thrown away – except for the cage lift – so the old banisters and brass window handles are being restored too, and some 1920s enamel hanging lamp shades with giant bulbs will also have a new life.

Although there are 22 double bedrooms, there also are two dormitories, one with 16 beds and the other with 18, and communal toilets for men and women. There are also twin beds for disabled artists who come with carers. “It’s basic but good accommodation, and people will be socialising in the shared areas most of the time” Hartwright says. “People are much more into sharing spaces now”.

The ground floor, once a showroom, will be a large foyer for reception including a bar and a restaurant which will double as a training school for young restaurateurs.

On the fourth level is Hartwright’s favourite space, once Northmet’s boardroom which had a bar at one end, and beneath the false ceiling his team found an exquisite engraved glass skylight which is being restored to be its centrepiece. “It’s when I saw this room I knew what we had to do” he says. It will also be available for use by local people.

Green Rooms has had no advertising and as yet has no general manager – a fine pedestal desk found in the basement is being restored ready for whoever is appointed – but already it is booked through May, June and July by word of mouth and contacts in, for instance, The Barbican Centre and the Royal Court Theatre. “It has to be somewhere creative people believe is for them, but where local people can feel comfortable meeting artists” Hartwright says.

“There’s a change in the way people are thinking about business and the arts, and at the same time a new way that young artists are thinking about their work that’s about what’s going on around them and how they inter-relate with other people” he says. “We can bring all that change together here.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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