OA Studios. A Welcome Addition to Greater Manchester’s Vibrant Art Scene
Hot on the heels of the Paradise Works launch comes OA Studios. I visited the King Street, Salford based Studios new artist led space, complete with its own exhibition gallery, the morning after the night before’s launch party. …..which I think was a great success!
A 5 minutes walk from Victoria Station and just off Blackfriars Road, OA Studios were easy enough to find. I arrived to find artist and founder Keith Ashcroft, manning the doors, and coffee machine, which given the weather was most welcome. There are currently 20 studios of varying sizes occupied by 21 artists. Their opening exhibition features works by 15 of the resident artists, plus a site specific installation by Nicola Ellis, located in the loft space and requiring a little agility to get to engage with. But well worth the effort!
The gallery space is a credit to curator Estop. Extremely well laid out, it leads the viewer along, showing a different perspective as you turn each corner, whilst being able to look back to view the works from a different angle. Well lit, it allows adequate space to see each of the works.
Along with painter Ashcroft, I met Rossendale artist and Sculptor, Andy Elliott, creator of a range of Bonsai tree sculptures of varying sizes using strands of copper wire, and Emma Green (see featured image above) who describes her work as ‘inspired by biomorphic shapes, natural sciences, cellular structures, intense colour and Minimal Art’s focus on repetition’ The studio spaces I saw were of a decent size, with good light.
Almost half OA’s residents moved from Third Floor Studios which was formally in the same building as Rogue. The loss of the previous building, and the practical need for affordable studio space driving the creation of OA. Curator/Programmer and artist Heather Estop said “We now want to expand into exploring the potentials of the space as a platform for exchanging ideas and for local creatives to share their work. It’s with this in mind that we’ll be programming further events over the next months.”
Along with Heather Estop, Keith Ashcroft handles the general management of the building and, fellow artist Craig Oates handles all things technological All are studio holders at OA and the space is entirely artist-led.
In response to my question asking if they are looking for more artists to join them. Estop says “all our studios are now occupied, but we would like to hear from anyone who may like to use the public spaces for creative projects, to exhibit their work or take part in a residency”
Anyone interested can express their interest by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Finding studio space, and importantly affordable studio space, in Manchester/Salford for new/emerging artists is increasing difficult. The arrival of OA Studios is a welcome addition and further proves the hard work and determination that artist led ventures, such as this, have to succeed. They need and deserve all the support they can get.
I wish them every success.
OA Studios opening exhibition and Ellis’ installation, will remain open by appointment, until 14th December. email: email@example.com to arrange a viewing