We believe that art can inspire, entertain, educate and transform people’s lives. Artists and arts charities have the unique talent and ability to create great art that can do this. Yet many survive on low incomes and struggle to make ends meet. So Wasps was set up to provide good quality, affordable studio space to enable artists and arts charities to carry out their work.
We now have a 40 year track record of supporting the arts community and have grown to become one of the UK’s largest studio providers. We currently house 800 visual artists and 25 arts charities at 18 sites from the Scottish Borders to the Shetland Islands. Their work in turn touches the lives of thousands of people across Scotland and beyond.
To date we have raised c.£22 million to invest in buildings for arts use across Scotland. We now own approximately two thirds of our property portfolio, securing permanent studios for 400 artists.
In addition, our activities support the regeneration of many deprived communities across Scotland. We redevelop redundant, historic buildings into beautiful facilities for artists and charities, attracting jobs and improving the physical appearance of local communities.
We currently have active projects in two locations; Inverness and Perth. These locations were confirmed after an extensive demand survey was carried out in the respective creative communities. The results highlighted a clear dearth in facilities supporting artists, makers, and creative industries, and as such work began to identify funding support and suitable locations.
In Inverness we have began the first phase of development of the B-listed Midmills building of the former Inverness Royal Academy. Once complete this part of the project will provide high quality affordable workspaces for 39 artists and makers and is expected to be completed by Summer 2018. A planned second phase is at the fundraising stage and would provide exhibition, performance and events space, a public cafe, workshop areas and offices for creative industries.
In Perth we have identified a building, the former St John's School site, and will work with Perth College, Perth and Kinross Council, PCAT (Perth Contemporary Arts and Crafts) and PVAF (Perth Visual Arts Forum) to help us to find creative tenants to bring this building back to life. With strong interest identified in creative workspace here, extensive refurbishment work will commence in Spring 2018 with an scheduled completion date of mid 2019.
We’re delighted that our work over the years has been recognized with a number of awards. In 2014 we won The Social Enterprise of the Year Award in Scotland. The Briggait project, which redeveloped part of Glasgow’s historic fish market into studios for over 80 artists and charities, won the coveted ‘Special Award for Scotland’ from the UK-wide Civic Trust Awards. South Block was the winner of the Doolan Award for Architecture in 2013.