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New artists’ studios and community art space launches in Rotherham

  • Date: 23 December 2011
  • Area: North
woman holding cake

Karen Sherwood, Chief Executive, with Christmas cake from Carousel Bake. Credit: Tair Rafiq

National portfolio organisation Rotherham Open Arts Renaissance (ROAR) are celebrating this festive season after the launch of their new permanent arts centre in Rotherham town centre - offering artists a place to develop and showcase their art as well as the facility to hold workshops for the local community. 

Westgate Chambers Artists' Studios and Community Art Space was supported by £76,666 of National Lottery funding through Arts Council England's capital programme. The space is owned by Rotherham Borough Council, who are providing the space rent free to ROAR for a year. Further funding of £50,000 from The People's Millions - a grants programme run by the Big Lottery Fund - has also contributed to the refurbishment of the space, making it fully accessible to both artists and local people. 

As well as offering artists a chance to look around the new studios, celebrations at the launch party included live music from Rock & Dhol, poetry featuring Christine Turner and Gav Roberts, drama presented by Open Minds Theatre Company, comedy from The Hot Beans Comedy Sketch Review and a DJ set by industrial shock rocker Leigh de Vries, 2010 People's Music Award winner. 

Karen Sherwood, Chief Executive, Rotherham Open Arts Renaissance said: 'We are very excited about the launch of ROAR's new art space and the continuing development of the arts in Rotherham. We hope that this new facility is yet another piece in the jigsaw towards establishing a vibrant and thriving artistic community both in and for Rotherham'. 

ROAR was set up in 2003 by a group of professional artists with the aim of building a strong, healthy and vibrant artistic community in Rotherham - an Arts Council England priority area. This month's launch is another significant step forward for the organisation. 

Since receiving support from Arts Council England to employ a CEO in 2008, ROAR has delivered positive change for the arts in Rotherham. Outcomes include establishing retail spaces for local artists, delivering a range of arts projects including the facilitation of Chromatologies - an international festival of digital arts and music; delivering Dance Central - a town centre based dance event; and commissioning three new pieces of public artwork. 

Rotherham Open Arts Renaissance will join the Arts Council England's national portfolio from April 2012.