East Street Arts receives lifeline grant

East Street Arts have been awarded £245,000 as part of the Government’s £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund (CRF) to help face the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic and to ensure they have a sustainable future; the Culture Secretary has announced today.

We are delighted with the news that we have been offered support through the Cultural Recovery Fund. The funds will assist us to implement a phased opening of two important capital projects, Convention House and the Art Hostel Melody Walker, Business Development Lead at East Street Arts

East Street Arts is one of 1,385 cultural and creative organisations across the country receiving urgently needed support. £257 million of investment has been announced today as part of the very first round of the Culture Recovery Fund grants programme being administered by Arts Council England. Further rounds of funding in the cultural and heritage sector are due to be announced over the coming weeks.

East Street Arts have a long history in the city of Leeds, born in 1993 by two artists who set out to change the lack of infrastructure available for artists living and working in Leeds – an economically thriving city.

The charity supports a community of 100s of artists and creative businesses in the area, with multiple buildings that are a hub for artist projects and workshops and activities focused on supporting our neighbours. This grant will ensure East Street Arts can continue to operate two currently dormant buildings with ongoing maintenance, COVID-19 related health, and safety updates, and reconfiguration in order to ensure artists and audiences can use both spaces when they are set to open in 2021.

The Art Hostel (Mabgate) was scheduled to be opened in April 2020 and remains closed to date, whilst Convention House which was on a phased opening following completion of its capital project has had to close. The team at East Street Arts will prepare their buildings to be covid-secure and explore the best operational models for a phased re/opening, during which time they will be able to test different ways of hosting activities that engage artists, visitors, and audiences, whilst observing legal and safety rules.

“This funding is a vital boost for the theatres, music venues, museums and cultural organisations that form the soul of our nation. It will protect these special places, save jobs and help the culture sector’s recovery.

“These places and projects are cultural beacons the length and breadth of the country. This unprecedented investment in the arts is proof this government is here for culture, with further support to come in the days and weeks ahead so that the culture sector can bounce back strongly.”
– Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden


“Theatres, museums, galleries, dance companies and music venues bring joy to people and life to our cities, towns and villages. This life-changing funding will save thousands of cultural spaces loved by local communities and international audiences. Further funding is still to be announced and we are working hard to support our sector during these challenging times.”
– Chair, Arts Council England, Sir Nicholas Serota


Receiving the funds is a huge relief for us and will enable us to plug a big gap in the viability and sustainability of The Art Hostel, however we recognise that this vital support must also have an impact on artists and freelancers in the cultural sector, East Street Arts we will strive to do as much as we can to support our community.”
– Nicola Greenan, Chair of East Street Arts Board of Trustees


“We are delighted with the news that we have been offered support through the Cultural Recovery Fund. The funds will assist us to implement a phased opening of two important capital projects, Convention House and the Art Hostel. These two cultural assets are important to the cultural economy of the city, especially the less recognised grassroots and underground Leeds arts scene.

We are grateful to the Arts Council and DCMS for enabling us to resuscitate Convention House and Art Hostel, so we can continue to place artists and audiences and users at the heart of the work we do.”
Melody Walker, Business Development Lead at East Street Arts


Notes to Editors

Arts Council England is the national development agency for creativity and culture. We have set out our strategic vision in Let’s Create that by 2030 we want England to be a country in which the creativity of each of us is valued and given the chance to flourish and where everyone of us has access to a remarkable range of high-quality cultural experiences. We invest public money from Government and The National Lottery to help support the sector and to deliver this vision. www.artscouncil.org.uk

Following the Covid-19 crisis, the Arts Council developed a £160 million EmergencyResponse Package, with nearly 90% coming from the National Lottery, for organisations and individuals needing support. We are also one of several bodies administering the Government’s Culture Recovery Fund and unprecedented support package of £1.57 for the culture and heritage sector. Find out more at www.artscouncil.org.uk/covid19

East Street Arts

Over the course of 27 years, East Street Arts have supported over 20,000 artists to flourish and build sustainable careers, reinvented 500 temporary venues as art galleries, studios, and meanwhile spaces, created 79 permanent studio spaces for artists, and developed a unique pop-up Art Hostel at the heart of Leeds’ historic Kirkgate, kick-starting a new chapter for the oldest street in the city and a conversation about the future of tourism in cities across the world.

East Street Arts has challenged the norm and sustained the alternative through creating the space, time, resources, and opportunities for artists to be innovative, pioneering, and influential within the cities they inhabit and create. East Street Arts occupies the places in which we live, bringing creativity, vibrancy, and life to urban environments and local communities: from artistic commissions that reimagine public space to its portfolio of temporary and permanent arts properties.

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