We were thrilled to speak to the editor of Nice People Magazine, and dedicated Assembly House volunteer, Meg Firth about our fundraising campaign to transform our space. Have a read to find out more about what the future has in store for us...
Since we first opened in 2014, we’ve welcomed people from all walks of life through our doors; from emerging artists exhibiting their work, to late-night music lovers dancing at DIY club nights, to local charities and social justice initiatives hosting workshops, Assembly House has been both a playground and a classroom for creatives in the local area. Primarily operating as an affordable studio space in the city, our building in Armley has become a home for professional practitioners to evolve their practice within a laid-back, supportive and nurturing environment.
Always with a welcoming smile and a hot brew to offer, we’re here to help our residents and neighbours get a leg up in the industry
Hiding inside an old textile mill, Assembly House is a small haven for creatives to find a happy sense of community and support. Offering cost-price studio spaces, free-to-access skills tuition, workshops, exhibitions, events and careers guidance, we have brought together an inclusive community that is bursting with creativity. Always with a welcoming smile and a hot brew to offer, we’re here to help our residents and neighbours get a leg up in the
industry evolve their art and be part of the vibrant heritage of DIY culture in Leeds.
Our family of volunteers and studio-holders are now embarking on the mission to create 26 new studios and a space for workshops, residencies and projects in a newly-vacant part of our building. Our team is familiar with rolling their sleeves up and cracking on, having transformed the once-abandoned warehouse into the colourful creative space it is today. As the only visual arts space in the area, we are excited to be able to expand our space and continue to be a creative site where people can have a cuppa and feel inspired by the people and creativity around them.
It can be easy for an artist to start feeling isolated and unmotivated without a stimulating environment to dedicate to evolving on their craft
We’re proud to be able to bring together a close circle of like-minded creatives in a space that bubbles with inspiration, motivation and professional support with our affordable studio spaces.
It can be easy for an artist to start feeling isolated and unmotivated without a stimulating environment to dedicate to evolving on their craft; many artists find themselves working alone from their living rooms, adjusting their art to fit into smaller spaces. As we emerge from lockdown, we realise that supporting each other is more important than ever: “There’s a whole swathe of people who have just graduated in such a strange environment; people who have lost their jobs and people whose industries have crumbled around them,” observes producer Alice Boulton-Breeze. “Those people can’t be forgotten about. We’re keen to provide support for them”.
With the new opportunity to expand, we are creating a vibrant new creative space for ‘the dreamers, disruptors and future change-makers’; a testbed for creatives to develop their craft and contribute a splash of colour, imagination and individuality to the area around them and beyond.
The thought of doubling the space and opportunities that Assembly House can provide is an exciting one. Since establishing our home in Armley, we’ve held over 150 exhibitions, hosted dozens of live music events, painted murals for our community and raised money for important local initiatives such as Racial Justice Network, MAP, The Real Junk Food Project, Help Refugees UK, Leeds Asylum Seeker Network, BLM Leeds, Help Musicians UK and many more. This new studio will help us earn enough income for us to offset losses from Covid, hire a new staff member and transform Assembly House into something truly self-sufficient and sustainable for the future.
Join us in this next chapter by keeping up with the progress of the build on our Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. If you’d like to find out more about us and this project, pop over to our Crowdfunder here.