Create artists’ studios
Every town has artists, but not every town has space for those artists to thrive in. Think of it as infrastructure for artists – studios to work in, space to meet, and a place to display. Access to space is a big part of what many artists need.
For over 40 years, Wasps Studios – a social enterprise working throughout Scotland – has been providing artists, makers & creators with inspiring spaces and places to work from. They operate and manage twenty character-filled buildings across the country, providing a canvas for creativity for over 900 practitioners and businesses. As well as the benefits for arts and culture, WASPS is also helping town centres around Scotland by repurposing otherwise redundant historic buildings, transforming the surrounding areas.
Selkirk: St Mary's Mill
St Mary's Mill in Selkirk is a typical Wasps studio: with 15 artists in a former textile mill with studio space, exhibitions and community events. Whenever the artists open their studios or hold an event, they certainly know how to pull a crowd! Since the building was opened, the tenants have improved their spaces, the lighting and constructed and programmed their own gallery space.
Courtyard Studios in Irvine is a purpose-built studio complex built in 1994 on Irvine's regenerated harbour front. With funding from Creative Scotland, WASPS were able to buy and refurbish the buildings. They now currently provide 17 studios of different sizes. The Courtyard has a vibrant creative community and is home to painting, bookbinding, jewellery, sculpture, photography, and collage.
All of the studios have shop-front access and are open to the public all year round so that people can drop in and speak to the artists about their work. Many offer public classes and workshops.
Inverness Creative Academy
Since 2018, Wasps has transformed two B-listed former school and college buildings in the centre of Inverness to create Inverness Creative Academy – the Highlands’ first major creative hub.
The first phase, an ‘artists and makers’ wing, was completed in 2018. It provides 30 artist’s studios, a community-run traditional darkroom, a designated workshop space for classes, and an events/exhibition space in the old gym. The studios were almost fully let within a year.
Phase 2 provides the ‘creative industries’ wing. It went on-site in early 2020, with completion due by Spring 2021. It includes:
- 54 workspaces for creative industries and cultural social enterprises including long term office space.
- Flexible co-working spaces for 26 creatives.
- Public exhibition, events and workshop spaces on two levels overlooking the hall.
- Fully accessible meeting rooms and facilities for hire.
- Public café within the restored, double-height, former Assembly Hall.