An exciting collaboration with A4 Studios is another way we are helping to make our great city regions greater. Supporting local projects and organisations is one of the many ways Bruntwood is helping to make a difference in the areas we operate.
Based in Altrincham, A4 Studios is a non-profit organisation working with local skilled and talented disabled and able-bodied artists that struggle to find studio space to display their art work. A4 Studios is ran by artists for the benefit of other artists, and through the creation of affordable spaces for creatives of all abilities, provides facilities which would otherwise be unavailable to this demographic.
The current studios are fully serviced and micro managed, and residents are given the opportunity to get involved with A4 Studios’ open exhibits and open studio events, receiving ongoing professional development and support.
When A4 Studios published an appeal for help on social media, the Bruntwood team saw this as a fantastic opportunity for staff to utilise their Cares Days; two days given to staff every year to volunteer for community projects. Our head of technical services and various site supervisors offered their skills to help renovate the studio space.
A team of 30 staff attended the site over a two week period, completing over 250 hours of voluntary work between them. They installed stud walls, fitted toilets, sinks, wired a new lighting system and installed new ring mains. We were also able to recommission the boiler, giving hot water and heating back to the building.
"We’ve had help from all departments from electricians and plumbers, to heating engineers, painters, joiners and ground workers. Not only have Bruntwood helped us deliver studios for over 25 disabled and low income artists to date, they have also secured much needed donations of materials from suppliers,” says John Lockwood, Managing Director of A4 Studios. “We can't thank Bruntwood and the team enough for the help we have received.”
As well as our staff volunteering their time, our plumbing supplier was happy to help with plumbing materials and kindly donating a full disabled toilet suite.
“They are continuing to help with conversion works to create more studio space for another 28 artists and a low cost shared space which will provide creative space for 10 students and very early career artists,” says John. “We now house artists from every discipline from music and videography to ceramicists, painters, sculptors and drawers, of all abilities.”
With this help and support, A4 Studios were able to open the ‘AIR Gallery’, opening in July 2017, to showcase contemporary art from new and emerging artists, as well as delivering workshops for students. They have recently launched their 10th exhibition and have shown artwork from afar afield as Iran, California, China, alongside many local artists.
“AIR Gallery has been a resounding success and has quickly established its place in the Manchester art world, receiving glowing reviews for its unique and varied exhibitions,” says John.
With a range of exhibitions, workshops and events, A4 Studios is quickly embedding itself as a central part of the local community in Altrincham. Through educating and raising awareness of the arts in the area, the team are able to promote community cohesion, reduce social isolation and social exclusion.