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STUDIO SPECIAL


I


f you long for your own studio space but don’t think you can afford it, prepare to be inspired. Set deep amid the Victorian terraces of western Cardiff, Oriel


Canfas is an excellent example of what’s possible when a group of artists unite around a common aim. Housed in a former canvas


warehouse, Oriel Canfas (Welsh for “Canvas Gallery”) provides workspace for 10 artists, alongside a gallery and an education room for the local community. It was founded back in the early 1990s, when a group of artists were about to be ejected from studio space in Cardiff’s Old Library. They decided to be pro-active and banded together to form a company, the Old Library Artists Ltd, and then sought new studio space as a group. Anthony Evans, one of the founding


members, explains the reasoning behind the move. “We felt we would be better off as a company rather than as individuals because people were reluctant to talk to artists but they will talk to companies. The building was bought with lottery funding so we don’t own a brick; the company owns the building and we run the company.”


42 Artists & Illustrators


GROUP


Can’t afford a studio of your own? Take a leaf out of the sketchbooks of a group of artists in South Wales who


have established a successful local co-operative WORDS: JENNY WHITE


The Old Library Artists Ltd is run as


a co-operative, with any profits being ploughed back into the company. “When we were setting it up, we contacted The Co-operative Movement, who more or less came in and gave us the model that we use today – although we adapted that model to suit artists,” says Anthony. “It took a long time.” They were helped in those early


stages by an administrator with a business background. “He worked with us for the first few years and I doubt very much whether we would have succeeded without him. I don’t think we’d have had the staying power to do all the paperwork, fill in the forms, go to all the meetings.”


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