Yesterday evening Castlefield Gallery (CG) was delighted to officially launch its flagship New Art Spaces Federation House. Housed in an 8-storey (80,000 sq ft) former Co-operative office building close to Manchester’s Victoria train station, Federation House has been transformed by Castlefield Gallery into a space for developing new art and artistic talent in the city in a 5 year partnership with NOMA.
In front of a packed audience of almost 700 guests and members of the public, the space was officially opened with speeches from Alison Clark-Jenkins, Arts Council Director in the North West and National Director of Combined Arts, Maria Balshaw, Director of Manchester City Galleries Partnership and Strategic Lead for Culture, Manchester City Council, and Martyn Hulme, Managing Director Co-operative Estates Co-operative Group and Elisa Artesero, an artist and recent graduate working in Federation House.
Opening in 1984 on Liverpool Road, and moving to its current home on Hewitt Street thanks to a Arts Council England capital Lotteries Grant in 2000, CG as a visual art venue and artist development agency has been actively involved with brokering ‘pop-up’ project and gallery spaces for artists and artists groups for several years. Through its New Art Spaces initiative, CG has currently has spaces in Leigh, Widnes, Salford and now in city centre Manchester with Federation House, making use of temporarily vacant retail, office and light industrial units for artists, artist groups and artist development agencies.
Spread over eight floors, Federation House encompasses exhibition spaces, artist workspaces, an experimental theatre space for developing new work, a film making and screening space, and classrooms for training events.
At last night’s launch the public could see exhibitions, artist workspaces, performances and meet the artists on all 8 floors including: Lower Ground floor MARS / Upper Ground floor Curated Place, DIY Art School, and Lauren Sagar & Sharon Campbell / 1st floor Mark Devereux Projects / 2nd floor Greg May, Molly Smyth, Saoirse Higgins, Julie Del’Hopital, Holly Rowan Hesson & Lisa Denyer, and TEA / 3rd floor Filmonik / 4th floor Roger Bygott, and Charma Force & Rafael Perez / 5th floor Sam Meech, Kathryn Miller (VERB Project), Darren Nixon, Huw Wahl, James Bloomfield, Richard Shields, and Pool Arts / 6th floor TOAST
“We were blown away by the turn out to the official launch of New art Spaces Federation House. The energy and enthusiasm for what Federation House means to the future of Castlefield Gallery, the artists, artist groups and artists development agencies involved, as well as the artistic and cultural ecology of the city as a whole was palpable.” said Kwong Lee, Director of Castlefield Gallery “It was wonderful to hear Maria Balshaw in her speech talking about the necessity of grass roots spaces such as Federation House to cities, adding vibrancy to a place, and the fact that larger institutions cannot exist in isolation.”
There will continue to be regular public events and exhibitions at Federation House and visitors should check the artists websites for times and dates.