YL ‘Innovators and Disruptors’ Series: StudioMakers

Kindly sponsored by PLP Architecture and hosted by the The Koppel Project, an emerging hub for the arts in Baker Street, the second event of the “Innovators and Disruptors Series” featured Candida Gertler, Director of the Outset Contemporary Art Fund and Co-Founder of the Studiomakers initiative. The event drew a diverse crowd of professionals involved in both the arts and the property sector, with the interest of better understanding the ways in which artistic production can have a positive impact on community development.

Candida, whose involvement in the arts and the public sector spans more than thirteen years, began by putting forth the importance of artistic production as a vehicle for identity and placemaking in London, noting that it gives the city a unique and bold character that sets it apart from other contemporary global development hubs such as Berlin and New York. Property development, she argues, has the potential of serving as a robust platform for the promotion of the arts by facilitating spaces for creative production– spaces which, in turn, provide long-term economic and social benefits to a greater community. As a pioneering initiative to bridge the gap between these two sectors, Studiomakers proposes a new symbiotic model that incentivises developers to partner with emerging and established artists as a means of infusing communities with a bolder sense of identity whilst attaining longer-term value.“Do not worry, this is not a threat.” — she joked. “It’s in fact an extraordinary journey”.

And indeed, Outset’s recent success stories bear testimony of what extraordinary journey it has been. As Candida explained, this visionary organisation has secured more than £6 million in strategic funding to support a network of over 200 artists located across eight different countries. Leveraged by this network and with the support of Outset’s £1.8 million Frieze Fund, emerging artists from around the world have seen their work acquired by renowned organisations such as the Tate Modern in London. Today, Outset’s Young Production Fund is supporting the construction of a new permanent garden at the South London Gallery designed by world-renowned Mexican artist Gabriel Orozco, and is also sponsoring an active year-long programme of artist studio visits locally and internationally.

Interest in Outset’s Studiomakers initiative was felt across the room as Candida explained the organisation’s mission. With the support and subsidies from local government and private donors, the initiative is actively seeking to acquire freehold spaces and long term leaseholds for artist studio space within mixed-use schemes across London, helping developers comply with Section 106 as they seek to attain planning consent for their projects whilst simultaneously providing a new platform for long-term value creation. The organisation is aiming to raise £7.5 million in business-led funding in pursuit of this goal, working together with other organisations such as Second Home, the Greater London Authority, PLP Architecture, Create London, Bolton & Quinn, and Bloomberg.

This proposal drew interesting comments and suggestions from the audience, who were keen to understand ways to quantify and visualise the program’s potential for maximising long-term value. As an example of successful implementation of this development model, Candida discussed a recent partnership with an established London developer that served as a successful testing and implementation platform for the project, noting that it has been highly successful to this date. Ultimately, Candida’s presentation brought to light a lively conversation among members of the audience, some of whom expressed their interest in collaborating with her in the near future. A warm thank you to Candida for preparing such a compelling presentation!

Words by Mauricio Vieto

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