East Street Arts

Contemporary arts organisation allowing art in Leeds to flourish

Established in 1993, East Street Arts is a contemporary arts organisation in Leeds. Their mission is to develop the talents and achievements of artists through their events programmes, membership activities, professional developments and studio/facility provisions.

Founded by Karen Watson and Jon Wakeman, East Street Arts takes reference and inspiration from the history and current developments within the artist-led movement of Leeds. In 2010, this passion developed into a strategic approach to linking temporary or empty spaces to artists and other creative practitioners. Since then, East Street Arts has moved in and out of a wide range of spaces across the country including Grade-A offices, night clubs, warehouses, retail units and post-civic spaces. The benefit to this empty space-led approach is that East Street Arts gains a varied and unique response from artists to the spaces they inhabit, bringing a genuine freshness to the organisation.

Their studio is a bespoke centre for artists, providing up to 34 quality studio spaces, with additional resource areas and a double height project space. It is of paramount importance to East Street Arts’ engagement with the artistic community, as it addresses artists’ needs for structured support outside of academic institutions, fostering a productive ethos of professional development.

A place for endeavoring artists to achieve a professionalism in their chosen discipline, for new relationships and collaborations to be formed, and for careers to flourish.

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