History

The Art House was established in 1994 by a group of artists with a vision to provide fully-accessible studio space. In the period 1994 – 2004, a small group of artists and arts professionals worked to secure funding for arts projects, training events and artists’ residencies across Yorkshire and the Midlands. The initial aim for the organisation was achieved in 2008 when The Art House opened a new building, exemplary in terms of accessibility, offering artists’ studios, accommodation, meeting rooms and community spaces.

Since 2008,  The Art House has continued to develop and grow, working towards removing barriers for artists through residencies, professional development and mentoring. In April 2012, The Art House was selected by The Arts Council to be funded as a National Portfolio Organisation.

In September 2013 funding was secured through the European Regional Development Fund, to extend into the Grade II Listed old Drury Lane Library, next door to the original building. This new site accommodates a further 34 artists’ studios and additional public spaces. Alongside the conversion project, ERDF also funded BELAY – a free business mentoring programme for artists living and working in Wakefield.

Now home to over 50 artists, makers and creative businesses, The Art House continues to champion equality of access and higher diversity in contemporary visual arts practice. Artists and audiences are invited to engage with the creative process through a rich programme of residencies, exhibitions, events, workshops, and professional development opportunities.

“The Art House’s mission continues to respond to the lack of facilities available to disabled artists… the diversity remit of the organisation is extended through new activity that will see them throw national focus on challenging conventional approaches to diversity and the arts.” (The Arts Council)

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