RESIDENTS of Guisborough are eagerly awaiting the opening of their new community arts venue, now taking shape thanks to the dedication of three local artists and backing from UK Steel Enterprise.
Miki Rogers, Beth Sigsworth and Helen Wright, who between them work in a wide range of mediums including textiles and ceramics, are spearheading the creation of the SkyBlueRed Studio in the town’s Church Street.
They are hoping to be up and running by the end of June and an official open day on Saturday, July 14, will feature art workshops, cakes and refreshments and a visit from councillor Denise Bunn, mayor of Redcar and Cleveland
The artists were delighted when UK Steel Enterprise, Tata Steel’s business support subsidiary, provided a £5,000 grant from its Community Support Fund to help with conversion costs.
They are confident the new studios, gallery and tea shop will provide a much-needed amenity for the town.
“There is such a buzz around Guisborough about the studio,” said Miki, “from individuals and local businesses to schools, everyone has been so enthusiastic and supportive.
“The money from UK Steel Enterprise has been really important to us and, once we had their support, it also helped us to trigger funding from other quarters.”
SkyBlueRed Studio will provide arts activities and workshops. A team of 10 volunteers, will support Miki, Beth and Helen to work with residents of all ages and abilities.
People with learning disabilities from Upsall Hall will gain valuable skills and experience working on ceramic enterprise projects that will be rolled out to involve other groups as well and by helping to run the catering operation.
“We want the studio to be a wonderful place for people to meet, try something new at a workshop, enjoy the food, hold an event or just browse in the gallery where we will be exhibiting the very best art and craft work,” said Helen.
“It can be difficult for local artists to find an outlet for their work and we have been very impressed by the standard of work that artists are already bringing in.”
Having looked for suitable premises for a long time the artists were delighted to find the Church Street site which has enabled them to include all the facilities they wanted.
“We think Guisborough has needed something like this for a long time and can’t wait to officially open the doors so everyone can start enjoying the studio,” said Beth.
Simon Hamilton, regional manager for UK Steel Enterprise, said: “The money in our Community Fund is there to support projects that improve the life of people living in steel areas. The Sky BlueRed Studio project ticks a lot of boxes for us as it will not only provide a fantastic arts facility for everyone in Guisborough but will also help people with learning difficulties to develop the skills that could help them into employment.”