WORK to create artist studios at the site of a former gallery will get underway soon after hundreds of thousands of pounds in grants were awarded.
Neobard Burnson Architects have been appointed as the architects to transform the former Beecroft Art Gallery, Station Road, Westcliff into a complex of artists studios.
The site of the new studios, which are set to be officially named in the coming weeks, has been derelict since the Beecroft Art Gallery moved to its new home on Victoria Avenue.
Lesley Salter, cabinet member for healthy communities and wellbeing, said: “The announcement of Neobard Burnson as the architect is a major milestone in this exciting project.
"The project will offer local and international artists a professional space to work and do business, and will further establish Southend as the cultural hotspot for the south east.
“We must offer a special thank you to Manalo and White for their role in the design process of the new artists’ studios, who completed the first stage of work to secure funding and planning for the project.
"Working closely with both architectural firms, we are certain that the studios will represent Southend’s artistic influence for years to come.”
An application to Arts Council England’s small capital grants scheme was successful with the project awarded £495,000, with an additional £80,000 from the Garfield Weston Foundation and Foyle Foundation.
In January 2018, hoardings were erected around the outside of the building.
Local artist, David Watkins, was commissioned by Focal Point Gallery to create a temporary art installation on the hoardings.
This work is inspired by the six degrees of separation, devised by American psychologist Stanley Milgram, outlining a visual map of interpersonal connections that link people into a community.