“Unit 1 Gallery | Workshop has started a campaign to have a direct and immediate impact on artists affected by COVID-19, as well as support programmes to benefit future artists.
The initial goal of the GoFundMe campaign is to raise £150,000 which will enable the gallery to support each member artist with a minimum grant of £500.
Founder Stacie McCormick explains: “Our artists are suffering from the uncertainties caused by COVID-19.Many have found themselves without the necessary work to support their practices. Exhibitions and sales have disappeared. And whilst many of them are applying for emergency funds from a variety of outlets or other great initiatives, the resources are limited”.
A practicing artist herself, McCormick is committed to providing artists with space and time unburdened by commercial constraints. She set up an extensive programme to allow creative practices to develop as well as providing engaging experiences for the public.
The Workshop Foundation Editions is a collection of works donated by the over 120 artists who have been with the exhibition and residency programmes to date. Sales of these works are directly supporting the initiatives at Unit 1 Gallery | Workshop. In line with the Money for Our Artists campaign, half of the proceeds of sales will be shared directly with the participating artists”.
Given the impact of the Covid-19 crisis, Unit 1 Gallery | Workshop has decided to kick off a fundraising campaign. Could you share your goal with us?
We have debated and discussed different ways to continue to and further our support for our near 200 artists, as a non commercial space providing space and time for artists to develop their practice we felt strongly compelled. After considering many options and researching other initiatives we felt that the main help we could and should offer our community would be financial. So the Money for our Artists is quite simple and transparent. Our ambition is to raise enough funds to award each of our member artists a cash grant of at least £500.
How is the whole process of fundraising going? What are the biggest challenges so far?
We have started out very strongly with nearly 6k in 3 days, we are now mounting several online campaign as well as reaching out privately to corporations and individuals. In order to take this to the level we would like to, we need are relying on the community to share and promote too. The support has be fantastic from our member artists – now we need to convert that into donations. Tobias Becker a Radical Resident® III, wrote today and said:
“Thank you very much for this great idea and your commitment! I would be more than happy to participate and hereby confirm my membership! But, if the goal is short, I would like you to keep my part for the continuation of the residencies, since this is the reason we met and why I started loving U1G-W so much! All the best from Germany and stay safe”.
How long will this campaign last?
The fundraiser will go until the 3rd week in July and we will disburse the funds immediately as individual grants equally shared. Several of our member artist have kindly and generously declined the grant offer and allowed their portion to remain in the fund for others in need. 85% of the funds will be given to our members and the 15% will be utilised to continue our several programmes.
Besides this financial help through the current campaign, how will Unit 1 Gallery | Workshop try to keep promoting its creative programme after lockdown?
The current solo residents are on site, as our space is enormous and social distancing is easy. I am so pleased to have Los Bravu in the space and working toward their final exhibition, that will obviously need imagination to put on- I note some continental galleries are having 2 by 2 visits with time slots. We are also monitoring the news for a time when we can gather our 10 artists of the Radical residency® V, if we are allowed to gather up to 10 people we may be able to conduct this dynamic residency with 10 artists working in the space culminating in a show for the second month. We are also very proud to have received Art Council England Funding and will be formally announcing this on Wednesday May 27th, it is such a huge help and honour to have been supported by this brilliant organisation. We have just had the gallery 3D documented so that we can have virtual exhibitions very soon.
Online exhibitions or other virtual activities could to be in the front line now?
We have launched the Workshop Foundation Print Editions, a collection of remarkable prints created from member donations. The sale of these prints directly benefits the initiative and is split with the artists 50/50 during this critical time. We are seeking partners that would like a collection of prints for their environments or properties and to benefit from the wonderful support they would provide to many existing artists as well as more opportunities with us going forward. We also have a patron who has promised to fund our sales platform that we will launch in 2020. We have recently launched our open call for the next solo residency in September and will either provide the studio and exhibition or a studio practice grant of £1500 depending on the circumstances.
Are you feeling optimistic about the future?
As a person, I am cellularly optimistic and find that every situation presents its challenges. It is flexibility that allows for an organisation to adapt and grow. As long as no single element is propping us up, we can rely on new media be that digital or virtual or new ways of showing the public physically. Imaginative inventive new initiatives will be born but crucially we can each other. From the very beginning the ambition of Workshop Foundation and all its generous initiatives has been to support and take care of our artists, to create a mutually supporting group and we will continue to do that -in every way possible.
*Unit 1 Gallery | Workshop is Workshop Foundation’s exhibition and residency space in London. It supports a diverse range of emerging and mid-career contemporary artists by providing them with space and time to develop their practice, championing principles of integrity and rigour. Through its residency programmes and exhibitions, it gives artists, curators and theorists a platform to present work and share ideas as well as creating an environment for freethinking and exchange.
Unit 1 Gallery | Workshop was founded in 2015 by artist Stacie McCormick in a former builder’s merchant.
© All images are courtesy of Unit 1 Gallery | Workshop & Stacie McCormick