Over the last 30 years Art Services Grants Limited (ASG) has provided support to artists including the Art Information Register (AIR), the AIR Gallery and SPACE Studios. It was founded in 1968 by Bridgette Riley and Peter Sedgley in response to the need of artists for affordable studios and remains artist led to this day . That year an unused warehouse in St.Katharines Dock was converted into a 100 studios. With no publicity other than a press conference, they were inundated with applications from all over Europe, this experiment is now seen as a pivotal moment in British art and urban regeneration and was swiftly copied across Europe.
SPACE Studios was formed as a charity in 1974 to convert unused industrial property into artists studios. However, ASG and SPACE studios are more than studio providers and from the late 60's to early 90's both developed a range of services including AIR which was housed and curated at the Royal Academy for the first two years. Exhibitions were selected from AIR, and promoted in a variety of British and International venues.
In 1975 SPACE and AIR moved to Shaftsbury Avenue and again in 1978 to Rosebery Avenue where the building swiftly became a focal point for new British art with the permanent AIR Gallery, talks, courses, and a performance programme of all arts disciplines.. Exhibitors include Alison Wilding, Tony Bevan, Ian McKeever, Langlands and Bell, David Nash and emerging graduates. The visual arts programme was supplemented by an education programme and the live arts programme ranged from Station House Opera to Michael Nyman.
The Friends of AIR and SPACE were formed in 1983. Their activities included Picture Fairs offering work by Irvin, Hockney, Riley and Caro among others and raised considerable income to support the organisation. SPACE established the first Open studios in 1975, and has a longstanding record of involvement in such events. These offer a valuable opportunity for the public and artists alike. Open studios enable artists to show art within the environment in which it is created. We hope you will visit our 8 Open studios and our other celebratory events during this 30th anniversary year.
As part of our long term strategy we are submitting a Stage Two Lottery bid. This will enable us to increase and upgrade the sites and develop these into geographical clusters with one site in each equipped as a resource centre to support artists locally and encourage greater public engagement with the visual arts. In addition we aim to develop one site further as a major Arts Resource Centre for artists in London, providing training and career support, a gallery, live/work and other studio options, access to, and facilities for the digital arts and cross platform work. SPACE has a long history of responding to artists needs and pioneering innovative art practices. Our aims for the future are ambitious and exciting and we look forward with you to the challenge of the next 30 years.