Our Founding Directors awarded MBEs

Karen Watson and Jon Wakeman, East Street Arts’ Founding Directors, have each been awarded a MBE by His Majesty The King in the New Year 2023 Honours List in recognition of their services to the arts.

The Honours come in advance of the 30th anniversary of East Street Arts being founded by Karen and Jon in 1993. The Leeds-based charity was established by the two artists after they were unable to find the support and infrastructure they needed to develop their art practice.

Since then, East Street Arts has worked to secure better livelihoods for artists and neighbours, and to address issues of economic and commercial decline in towns and cities. Over the past 30 years, the couple have led the East Street Arts team to offer life support for artists including advice, space, infrastructure, audiences, and opportunities to work.  

“We’re absolutely thrilled to receive this award. This is an acknowledgment of the role that East Street Arts has played in supporting artists and the communities in which they live and work. Our staff, volunteers, artists and neighbours have been fundamental in this achievement, and it’s testament to their proactivity and commitment.” Karen Watson

“This is a great honour for us, and for East Street Arts; and it’s especially timely as we head into our 30th year. It’s been an exciting, collaborative and unconventional 30 years and we’re really proud of everything we’ve achieved so far but, as our sector faces unprecedented challenges, we’re not losing sight of the future and making sure that East Street Arts continues to have relevance and impact in years to come.” Jon Wakeman

Other things!