Art can improve lives. With Spike Island offering over 70 affordable artist’s studios and 50 co-working spaces for creative business to collaborate, artists in Bristol can afford to create and stay in the vibrant city. Resonance’s Bristol SITR Fund’s investment of £100,000 is helping Spike Island to push boundaries, support more artists and increase the reach of art to broader communities. It’s our 11th SITR investment in the city, and it couldn’t be supporting a more creatively ambitious business model.
From their humble beginnings in a warehouse in the mid-1970s, Spike Island has become a central part of Bristol culture. Over 530,000 visitors have been welcomed through their doors over the past three years (equal to the entire population of Bristol). As the organization’s impact grew, it expanded to include Exhibition Services, a branch of the organization that provides audio-visual equipment and specialist services to the artistic community. Resonance’s investment will enable Spike Island Exhibition Services to become a sustainable income source to support the charity. It will also develop the audio-visual work of Spike Island’s artistic community more than ever before with new and improved production equipment.
Robert Leckie, Director of Spike Island says: “Thanks to this social investment opportunity being granted, Spike Island are now investing in Exhibition Services to expand the team and grow the business. We are excited to further develop our outstanding industry reputation and long-standing history as a leading audio-visual service provider with significant local, national and international experience.”
Spike Island helps to find and develop a voice for artists who may face a multitude of barriers, by promoting mental wellbeing and community cohesion through pioneering thought-provoking visuals and eye-opening artwork. It supports SMEs and Bristol’s creative industries, including smaller charities to strengthen their creative networks and share skills.
Does art have limits? Spike Island doesn’t believe so, with its international and stimulating art. The development of Spike Island Exhibition Services will enable the delivery of more high quality public exhibitions across the UK and beyond.
Spike Island gives opportunities to emerging visual artists, debut novelists, international filmmakers and many other creatives often sidelined in an industry where few can sustain their practice, owing to inconsistent and low incomes. The average earnings for an art practitioner is £15,000 pa. So while the production and consumption of art can become the province of those with greater financial means, Spike Island is working to change that.
Inspiring creative resident Sian Norris, says, “It’s an incredibly supportive space for emerging artists like myself. The team provided me with practical support for running amazing, sell-out events. Their boundless enthusiasm for my project and their emotional support led to a brilliantly successful four months that changed my life.”
Art is a form of expression that encourages a shared sense of community. By breaking down barriers and supporting creative talent, Spike Island helps people to feel less isolated in society. “Spike Island is an amazing place not just for the artists who make it home, but for the wider community that it serves so well,” reports BBC Radio Bristol.
“A dynamic arts space like Spike Island offers perspectives from people from different walks of life that aren’t always visible through other lenses,” says Katalin Juhasz, Investment Manager from Resonance. “Spike Island’s commitment to ensuring all exhibitions are free to enter, along with their emphasis on promoting mental wellbeing and community cohesion, means that it is an inclusive space that involves everyone in society, regardless of their background.”
With their journey towards long-term sustainability now well on the way, Spike Island offers the perfect place for over 70 aspiring artists to work in professional and affordable studios, and in a vibrant, creative and community-focused space.
The Resonance Bristol SITR Fund is a pioneering social impact investment fund aimed at helping to dismantle poverty in Bristol and the surrounding area by investing in local social enterprises. It takes advantage of Social Investment Tax Relief (SITR) to simultaneously lower the cost of loans for enterprises and to enable a competitive return to investors.
Hedwig Houben, Personal Matters and Public Affairs (2015) Live performance at Spike Island, Bristol (2016) Photograph by Lisa Whiting
Theatre company Wise Children in their workspace at Spike Island, Bristol (2018) Photograph by Lisa Whiting
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Resonance Impact Investment Limited, a subsidiary of Resonance Limited, is authorized and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). Firm number 588462.
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