An artist studio is popping the Champagne as 2019 brings expansion and welcomes Preston’s own Turner Prize winner to its ranks.
The Birley Artist Studios, established by contemporary artists in 2014, will more than triple in size after taking over the first floor of the building it occupies in Birley Street.
It is also welcoming new artists to its space including Turner Prize winner 2017 Lubaina Himid CBE.
A joint statement issued by studio directors Stephanie Fletcher and Benedict Rutherford said: “We are the only artist-led studios in the city centre, and have had more demand for affordable artist spaces than we ever anticipated.
“We are passionate about supporting contemporary art practice, and really excited about having more artists joining us - and the new opportunities and events this will bring.
“We have worked closely with Preston City Council, which owns the building we occupy, as well as other arts organisations and artists in the city, and are grateful for all the support we’ve had along the way - in particular from Lubaina Himid and In Certain Places.”
Lubaina said: “Contemporary art is flourishing at the Birley and I am delighted to be part of this brilliant project in Preston.”
The Birley has been oversubscribed for space since its first year of opening.
Other new members to join include the Making Histories Visible project, Rebecca Chesney, Faye Spencer and Tracy Hill.
The studios - a volunteer-led project - will develop gradually throughout this year, with building improvements taking place alongside exhibitions, workshops and events.
A launch celebration event is planned for Summer 2019.
Councillor Peter Kelly, cabinet member for culture and leisure at Preston City Council, said: “We’re delighted the council can support the growing artist community in Preston by providing this extra space for The Birley.
“It’s a great example of keeping graduates in the city and adds to the vibrant and diverse cultural offer the city is delivering.”