Essex Network of Artists’ Studios (ENAS) is a new support and development initiative for artists and studios across the county. ENAS is an initial two-year pilot programme (2014- 2016) funded by Essex County Council, firstsite and Arts Council England. With input from these organisations as well as consultation and support from eight ‘foundation’ studios, ENAS is a network for artists, for studios, for the public and for Essex.
- Increase artistic excellence by encouraging creative dialogue between studios through collaborative commissioning and engagement programmes, and providing a range of creative professional development opportunities including peer-to-peer review.
- Raise the profile of studios in Essex through a range of co-ordinated networking events, open studios and exhibitions. Working with further education institutions in the region, ENAS will promote the benefits of studio practice for emerging artists.
- Increase Essex’s reputation as a culturally vibrant county, known for its innovative work and recognised for best practise through making links and partnerships with other national and regional arts organisations.
- Enable studios to thrive by providing a forum for studios and artists to share ideas, resources and opportunities and signposting of information.
- Develop and broaden audiences and professional and peer networks, encouraging more people to engage with Essex studios through umbrella marketing campaigns, reaching new regional audiences. ENAS aims to link curators, buyers and other artists and studio groups working nationally directly with Essex artists, as well as provide opportunities for studios and artists to raise their profiles online.
- Increase business resilience through becoming a pivotal resource for artists and those looking for space, as well as landlords wanting to lease vacant premises.
- Ensure long term sustainability of the network, through exploring different constitutional models. Foundation studios will benefit from business ‘health checks’ which identify and fund key priorities for these studios which contribute to their longer term security.
You must register as a member to avail of the opportunities ENAS offers. Visit our Membership pages for more information.
How did ENAS come about?
In 2008 Essex County Council launched the Space to Work Strategy that was set up to enable artists to thrive and play an important role in the development of a creative economy within the county. At the time of writing the Strategy there was an acute shortage of affordable studios, highlighted as an issue from a comprehensive artist survey completed in 2008.In the ensuing period, Essex has seen an exciting upsurge of studio developments across the county providing a further 124 affordable spaces for artists to create their work. In March 2012, representatives from the eight foundation studios across Essex, firstsite, ACAVA and Essex County Council Cultural Development Team met to discuss the development of a network of artists’ studios for Essex.
How does ENAS hope to continue?
Underpinning the success of the network is its long term sustainability. All of the partners strongly believe that the ENAS will become a vital resource for studios, artists, arts organisations and landlords. From the offset, ENAS partners are exploring different constitutional models e.g. not for profit, membership schemes to ensure the long term success of the network. ENAS is a no-for-profit initiative, all membership fees go directly to foundation studios. By charging membership fees for Associate Studios and Affiliated Artists, ENAS is ensuring that the foundation studios benefit directly from this income. Partners will also investigate different funding opportunities to expand and develop the Network.
ENAS aims to create an integrated, adaptable and indispensable presence in the cultural landscape across the county, the East of England and further afield.