Plymouth’s innovative Ocean Studios is to receive a Social Enterprise Investment Fund support package to enable it to complete its construction phase and cement its future as a home for artists.
A delegated decision is being signed today giving the go-ahead to a £300,000 grant to cover unforeseen construction costs.
The Ocean Studios opened its doors in the summer and is already fully occupied with a waiting list for those wishing to become part of the project.
The facility has over 1900 sq metres of workspace with 32 individual studios capable accommodating up to 100 artists. It also has two large open plan areas; specialist and fully equipped workshops in printmaking, cold glass finishing, small scale metals, ceramics and mould making, photography and digital suites.
The studios are run by a Community Interest Company with the aim of creating a permanent home to a growing creative arts scene, providing facilities to encourage talented graduates from Plymouth University and Plymouth College of Art to stay in the city.
Councillor Chris Penberthy, Cabinet member for Co-operatives and Housing said: “This is an extremely exciting project for the city and is helping us get national attention.
“The project is in that strange place where it needs to finalise construction works payments to draw down grants committed by two of the funders with whom the Council is working very closely.
“There was not enough in the contingency pot, so we are helping them bridge this gap so that they can get on with the job of running the facility.”
The grant is conditional on the company repaying at least £100,000 in the short term. The Council will also be offering support to the project as it becomes a successful and fully operational business, with a rental income from artists, workshops and a variety of events and short courses.
The studios received £4.2 million funding from the European Regional Development Fund, Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership, the Council’s Investment Fund and Historic England enabling the transformation of the Cooperage Grade I Listed Building in the Royal William Yard into artist studios.