Whilst Greenwich Council continue their work to create an arts and culture hub at Woolwich’s Royal Arsenal site, the massive potential of underused spaces along Powis Street, Hare Street and the like is starting to be realised.
An organisation called artFIX has taken on a former T-Mobile unit at 51 Powis Street, opposite McDonalds and Nandos. Their website states they will offer:
“Café: a social space where people can meet, discuss, conceive ideas, form teams and plan artistic activities, creative business ideas or activist initiatives.
Venue: an exhibition/performance space where people are able to express themselves and showcase their creative work. This occurs all around the store, where fixes of creative content such as music, theatre, dance, exhibitions etc., lasting no more than 30 minutes each, are presented on a rapidly rotating basis.
Academy: an education space, where lectures, seminars and workshops are organised, business and creative courses are taught, healthy living, art therapy and workout classes are on offer.
Workspace: a collaboration space where people can work together and conceive, develop and plan innovative and creative ideas for social, political or business purposes.”
This seems exactly what Woolwich needed. It has had London’s largest artist studios just up the road for years but there’s been scant evident of that within the town centre. Formally named Second Floor Studios, it’s now named Thames-side studios.
With many vacant sites in Woolwich and a preponderance of pound stores, I’ve long thought it would be good for landowners in the town centre such as Mansford, alongside the council, to work closely with local artists to improve the area. Street art festivals etc. Making underused and underloved spaces inviting and interesting. I’ve seen it happen first hand in other towns across the UK and it brought in many visitors and life to previously struggling areas.
Three flats have also been created above the unit. There’s an ongoing plan to convert upper floors of many shop units into flats. And a good thing too. Town centres need life and vitality at night. Too many become ghost towns after 8pm.
There’s also an Artfix Facebook page here.