The Art Station is a dynamic, ambitious, arts organisation and charity, developing and supporting the creative industries in Saxmundham, Suffolk; using its venue in a 1950s telephone exchange as a base for a dynamic Art and Learning Programme for local community and East Coastal Suffolk as well as providing attractive workspaces, a co-working area and tech space with a high speed line.
Our new space in our 1954 telephone exchange is a creative hub right in the high street of this historic market town. Our work and presence is creating a positive impact through an increase of both cultural and economic activity. Our Art and Learning programme comprises exhibitions, events, talks and screenings and we build our sessions for young people and children around this programme – creating access to and engagement with contemporary arts. We support the creation of art and the development of tech learning and creative tech in a rural context.
We are developing a peer support network for creatives to support creative practice as well as sustainable careers through offering freelance employment, careers support, peer crits, and info/support in making applications and becoming part of a creative network.
We first started offering the local community, contemporary art installations and an-all ages art education programme in June 2017 and were developing Saxmundham station building as a new arts venue. Tragically, in Feb 2018 a devastating fire destroyed the building. We remained undeterred and after we shook ourselves down, we focused on negotiating a lease on our new venue, a wonderful 5500 sq ft in the former telephone exchange building.
We’ve been through it all – a fire, a strip out and refurbishment and two years of Covid restrictions and are now delighted that we were able to open the studios in Nov 2020 and open to the public for face to face activities in July 2021. We’re up and running and our Art and Learning programme is getting very positive feedback and people are very excited about Art Station in Sax.
We have work experience opportunities, internships and volunteering – engaging young people with their future; the high street, town and wider opportunities. In 2021 we’ve supported six young people (18-23 years) with paid work placements and employment as part of the Art Station team. We’ve helped them use this opportunity to gain skills that will lead to future employment or further learning and they’ve all found it a really positive experience and right here where they live.
If you have any thoughts, questions or would like to get involved, please get in touch.
“The LEP regards the project as having significant social impact through creating cultural and enterprising activity, volunteering and work experience opportunities within the town and surrounding areas. It will have a positive impact on the high street of Saxmundham bringing creative vibrancy to this location.”
Iain Dunnett, senior growing places coordinator, new Anglia LEP
We’d like to thank and acknowledge the capital funding from our funders: New Anglia LEP, Magnox Socio-Economic Fund, East Suffolk Council, CIL ( ESC), Scarfe Fund, Cooke Family Trust, and all our local supporters who have helped to fund the refurbishment via our crowdfunder. Also our current funding towards activities from Arts Council England, East Anglian Arts Fund, East Suffolk Council (Enabling Communities) and Magnox Socio-Economic Fund (NDA).
We’d also like to acknowledge previous funders who have supported our early development: Arts Council England, Adnams Community Trust, Suffolk Community Foundation, Suffolk Coastal Enabling Communities Fund, Scarfe Trust, Saxmundham Town Council, Suffolk County Council Locality Budget, School of Social Entrepreneurs (East), StartEast, Power to Change.