Artists with studios in Granville Arcade are being forced to move out of the space some have worked in for a decade.
The owner of the indoor market, In Shops, is refusing to renew the lease for the Artists Studio Company (ASC) which provides studios to 23 artists in Brixton. They currently work above restaurants and shops on 4th and 5th Avenues in Granville Arcade, also known as ‘Brixton Village’.
Zelda Rhiando, a Brixton author who has a studio in Granville Arcade said: “I feel dreadful leaving. If you look at the history of this, Spacemakers came in and worked with the artists to create gallery spaces. It was that which encouraged restaurants to move in.
“All these new restaurants in Brixton market probably wouldn’t have happened without the artists and studios being here. I guess now from a purely commercial point of view we don’t have an impact, but it was very different in 2009.”
There are very few studios available elsewhere in Brixton and most of the artists have had to look elsewhere, in Streatham, Deptford and further out. “The only other studio space in Brixton is above Barnados. You’re talking about us being evicted but with no provision at all for artists to work affordably in other places in Brixton”, said Rhiando.
ASC has a secure business tenancy due to expire in October 2013 and that meant it had the right to a new lease. However, the charity recently received a Section 25 Notice from In Shops informing ASC that they had development plans for Granville Arcade and requiring it to vacate at the building.
Peter Flack, Chief Executive of ASC, said: “After seeking legal advice we decided to challenge their notice. In Shops now have to prove that their development plans are real.”
In Shops were not available to comment and it is not yet clear what the company plans to do with the site.
“The new owners of the market, In Shops have changed the market beyond all recognition and my organization welcomed this change”, said Flack. “ASC artists have occupied studios above a run down market for years and during that time we staged many exhibitions and events in the empty shop units. We feel that we aided the markets development in the early days and now that things have improved artists are not welcome. I assume In Shops are simply looking at increasing profit at our expense.A creative community is yet again under threat from developers.”
The artists have received notice to leave on January 7 2013 while the appeal is underway. ASC is looking to relocate as many people as possible to its other sites.
Zelda Rhiando in the meantime is keen to work with others to set up a cheap space for artsist in Brixton and has asked anyone interested to contact her. Please email us on firstname.lastname@example.org for more details.