Newcastle graduates turn office block into art studios to keep young artists in city

Two young graduates are transforming an until recently disused office block in Newcastle city centre into low cost studios for emerging and developing artists.

Supported by a grants for the arts award from the Arts Council and a grant made available by Newcastle City Council as part of their urban regeneration strategy, Will Strong and Will Marshall are converting four floors of Norham House on New Bridge Street West into studio spaces.

NewBridge Studio offers flexible, low cost space for graduates and other emerging artists, who might otherwise have had to leave the city to develop their careers.

So far 30 other artists have joined Will Strong and Will Marshall in residence at NewBridge, and there is room for around 20 more.

The two Wills, who are both 23 and recent graduates from Newcastle University, have set up an artist-led Community Interest Company, PopUp Initiative, to develop the project. Alongside the studios, which were previously occupied by lawyers and accountants, they are running a street-level gallery space, hosting a monthly programme of publicly accessible exhibitions of studio holders’ work.

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