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 an engaging art and learning programme giving access to contemporary practice, creative mentoring, local freelance employment, careers support, peer crits, and info/support in making applications.
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, shook ourselves down, and 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 were delighted to open the studios in Nov 2020 and open to the public in May 2021. We’re up and running and our Art and Learning programme is getting very positive feedback. Our community enjoy being in our creative space and are excited about taking part and meeting new people here.
We are offering work experience opportunities, work placements and volunteering – engaging young people in a future within the creative sector and offering an enjoyable experience while gaining transferrable skills. We’re here on the high street, in our town and signposting people to wider opportunities.
In 2021/22 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. Four out of six have gone on to full time employment.
For Summer 2022 we offered work experience to six young people at secondary school. Here’s some feedback: ” Thanks for giving me a task that can help me later in life and add to my portfolio. I learned a lot!”
If you have any thoughts, questions or would like to become a volunteer with us, please get in touch. [email protected]