New studio venture for Gateshead
The region has a seemingly insatiable appetite for affordable workspaces for artists and designers. Alastair Gilmour reports on the latest developments.
A CREATIVE cluster gathers with sharpened pencils, fully-charged laptops and jewellers’ eyepieces. A Gateshead church sits vacant waiting for a congregation. Put two and two together and find inspiration.
Furniture designer Nick James has already tapped into the North East’s inventive spirit with two successful ventures in Newcastle so a move to include creatively vibrant Gateshead seems almost inevitable. Nick operates the Mushroom Works and the Brick Works at Newcastle’s axis of creativity, the Ouseburn Valley, and the opportunity to develop affordable workspaces for artists and designers south of the Tyne has come at the right time.
Brighton Road Studios is the new name for the United Reformed Church on Gateshead’s Brighton Road where up to 15 creative souls will find inspiration and hopefully nurture a dynamic force similar to its sister studios in Newcastle.
“Gateshead is just waiting to happen,” says Nick. “It’s important we get things right and we identified the old United Reformed Church as ideal for our plans.
“There’s a huge interest in this type of affordable space from creative people – from painters to printers to writers and designers and we can cater for a diverse range. We’ve reached capacity at the Mushroom Works and I’m now at the same stage as I was four years ago when I first started. I’ve got to the point where we have to sit down and look at where we’re going in the future.
“We’ve been helped by One Church, 100 Uses which offers churches suitable for commercial uses and which will benefit the community. There will be space for between 12 and 15 creative practitioners.
“It’s a Grade II listed building which might prove quite tricky if we want to alter things, but a lot of the internal structure and the layout is very appropriate for artists. It has big fireplaces and bay windows, it’s quite a set-up. If the project gets approval it will be ready by the end of summer.”