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“Art is for everyone, we just need to create spaces for artists to thrive”

GRIT Art Studios are trying to make accessible art space within reach of all artists, no matter what discipline.
GRIT Studios

In 2021, the team behind GRIT Art Studios stumbled across an old, slightly rough around the edges building in Stockport.

Little did co-founders Sophie and John know at the time, but it was the beginning of something special.

While others may have seen the building’s flaws, they saw sunlight streaming in from every angle, sturdy wooden floors begging for footsteps, and quirky staircases whispering potential.

And in 2021, they opened up, on a mission to breathe life back into this forgotten space.

GRIT Studios

Sophie and John from GRIT Studios

Granville Works in Stockport was the genesis of creating a space for Manchester’s grafters and crafters to thrive.

The building, which had been derelict for ten years, wasn’t exactly what you’d have in mind as a flourishing art studio for Manchester’s next generation of artists.

But it has been a huge success, growing in reputation and even allowing the GRIT team to branch out into the Great Northern Warehouse.

And according to co-founder/owner, Sophie, they aren’t done yet.

“We want to put a GRIT studio in every borough in Manchester. That’s the dream.

“A lot of young artists don’t have the space to work, and it means they miss out.

“Manchester is such a fertile place for art, be it music, theatre or anything. These spaces are vital.”

Unwittingly. by creating a space for artistic expression, GRIT studios have been a great boon for people to improve their mental health.

In our interview with Anxiety Josh, who is writing about the life of a therapist, GRIT Art Studios and Talk About It Mate got a huge shout-out for their great work in Manchester.

“It’s an unusual one as we don’t position ourselves as an ‘Arts for Mental Health’ organisation, but we seem to have inadvertently become involved with lots of people’s mental health journeys.

“I worked for years in NHS Mental Health services before leaving to set up GRIT, so I’ve seen how scarce community services are. It has been lovely to set up a space and a community that supports each other.”

The studios are a melange of people from all parts of the art world.

The rich blend of talent breeds innovation, fosters expression and allows people to grow their craft.

At GRIT Art Studios, collaboration isn’t just encouraged. It’s celebrated.

Artists from all walks of life come together to share ideas, inspiration, and resources.

“We need to reconsider how we collaborate with artists,” Sophie continued: “There’s a shortage of creative resources nationwide, especially in Manchester.

“When we explored options for a space, we found limited opportunities. However, we stumbled upon a building nearby.

“Over the next few years, we’ll be working on it. It was neglected, with no interest from residential developers or others.

“Despite its run-down appearance, it had charming windows and wooden floors.

“We recognized its potential, so we decided to purchase it. We rewired, refurbished, and reinforced the structure, inadvertently engaging the creative community in the process.

GRIT focuses on community, rather than isolation, as artists can often cut isolated figures when they are creating.

“In our space, each artist rents a corner, tailored to their craft. Some specialise in jewellery making, others in painting, or textiles.

“Newcomers are always welcome. Instead of individual isolation, we promote a sense of community.

People rent their spaces, overseen by a coordinator, addressing a common concern within the creative community – the tendency towards solitary work.

“Even with individual studios, we aim to foster a collaborative environment.

“Ideas bounce about between artists and that helps everyone.

“We actively promote collaboration among artists, believing it’s crucial to support one another in our projects. Whether it’s pooling resources for larger endeavours or offering assistance with proposals, we strive to lift each other up.”

Looking to the future

As GRIT Studios continues to grow, Sophie and John have their sights set on a bold vision – to expand their reach beyond Stockport and into every borough of Manchester.

Their dream is to provide budding artists with the space, support, and opportunities they need to thrive, ensuring that Manchester remains a happy hub of artistic innovation for generations to come.

You can find GRIT studios here: GRIT Studios CIC, Canal Street, Stockport, SK1 3BZ

You can find out more about GRIT Studios by clicking here

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