Looking for free artist studio space in central London? A new scheme could help out

New award backed by Spanish fashion brand Loewe will fund workspaces for seven artists at Studio Voltaire

Studio Voltaire will re-open in October after a 2.8m transformation Architects impression; courtesy Matheson Whiteley Architects

A new award backed by the Spanish fashion brand Loewe will enable seven artists to work on site at the south London non-profit space Studio Voltaire in rent-free workspaces for two years. The Loewe Foundation/Studio Voltaire Award also offers a bursary of £2,000 for each artist along with curatorial and pastoral support.

Successful applicants will take up residency in August before Studio Voltaire re-opens in October after the biggest transformation in its 26-year history. The £2.8m redevelopment will create more space for artists’ studios along with a learning and events space, café and a public garden designed by Anthea Hamilton.

The new award is open to artists of any age, supporting emerging and underrepresented artists, a statement says. Joe Scotland, the director of Studio Voltaire, adds: “It’s both for artists recently out of art school or for more established practices which might not have previously received the support they deserve. Importantly, we also really welcome artists who didn’t go to art school.” The awards will be allocated “based on talent and need”, according to the criteria.

The award will allow seven artists to work in the south London non-profit space in rent-free spaces for two years Architect's impression, courtesy of Matheson Whiteley Architects

Crucially, the award has been developed in direct response to the urgent need for affordable and secure workspaces for artists in the capital in the wake of the coronavirus crisis. Scotland adds that “there has been limited support over the past year for artists. Many of them have slipped through the net; the pandemic has deepened the divide between artists of different socioeconomic backgrounds. We’ll be focusing on the difference this initiative could make to their practice.”

The funding has also gone towards establishing a new post for a curator of studios and residencies. “When we consulted artists, they emphasised the importance of working with someone at Studio Voltaire in a mentoring role,” Scotland says.

Applications will be received through open call and via selected nominators including Linsey Young, the curator of contemporary British Art at Tate Britain. Members on the award selection panel include Andrew Bonacina, the chief curator of Hepworth Wakefield, and the artist Elizabeth Price. The successful applicants are due to be announced in June. The deadline for applications is 6pm GMT, 26 April.