Manchester’s Most Ambitious New Arts Initiative
Last night I made the short trip across the River Irwell to Salford to check out the opening night of a new initiative to help Manchester (and Salford) creatives flourish.
It’s called Artwork Atelier…
…and frankly it’s a whopper!
They have gutted this sixties style red brick and concrete warehouse creating a blank ground zero from which will spring forth the perhaps most significant collaborative cultural/business initiative in Manchester in the last 20 years.
The aspiration apparent here is almost as mind bendingly collossal as the building itself. Set over three floors, Artwork Atelier has ambitions on a national scale intending to roll out the model devised and tested in Manchester to other cities across the country
There are tens of thousands of square feet of floor space here intended for a combination of creative and business practices. They are intending to carve up the space to accommodate artists from all disciplines and are hoping to facilitate their development by sharing an environment with more business minded creative enterprises.
The third floor is a vast open space (containing for some reason tiki bar) intended to be refurbished as an exhibition and events space and has also managed to attract an event featuring a significant national (and unfortunately secret) artist.
At the opening event I bumped into a couple of the established Manchester arts community like Jez Dolan (@jezdolan) who I haven’t seen for years, who was on splendid form and the mood among the crowd was very optimistic. But then, the space is epic and its potential huge, its difficult not to get excited about that kind of thing.
So will it work?
Obviously its impossible to say for sure but my impressions are as follows:
- The space, for its quality is extremely good value and the service package is excellent comparatively speaking.
- The space is gorgeous.
- Having UHC on board, will mean that amazingly interesting things will happen in and around the building itself.
However, one thing that jumped out at me while being given the full tour by the lovely Jai Redman from UHC is that despite their expressed intention to facilitate the development of both business start ups and the development of more successful artists they have no apparent process for helping this to happen.
Both business start ups and professional creatives often benefit from an support package of clear, useful advice from people who understand their sector and if Artwork Atelier want to success in this area then this could be facilitated by partnering up with a specialist project like UCLAN’s MORE Programme, or enlisting the help of a specialist individual in that field…(…cough…)
That being said I suppose the decider is whether people will want to be a part of such an ambitious and exciting project.
In that respect things are looking good as almost everyone I spoke to at the launch event admitted to enquiring about taking about a space…including me.
…thanks for reading, I would be very interested in hearing your opinion.
You can keep up to date with the story as it unfolds at @artworkgg #artworkgg