Wasps mission is to provide space and support activities in which creators can prosper.
Wasps vision is to be an inspirational home for creative practice. Through activities and advocacy we will continue to deliver affordable spaces in which the broad artistic community can realise and share its talent and skills.
We believe that art can inspire, entertain, educate and transform people’s lives. Artists and arts charities have the unique talent and ability to create great art that can do this. Yet many survive on low incomes and struggle to make ends meet. So Wasps was set up to provide good quality, affordable studio space to enable artists and creative organisations to carry out their work.
We now have a 42 year track record of supporting the arts community and have grown to become one of the UK’s largest studio providers. We currently house about 900 artists and 33 creative organisations at 20 sites across Scotland, from the Scottish Borders to the Shetland Islands. Their work in turn touches the lives of thousands of people across Scotland and beyond.
To date we have raised c.£32 million to invest in buildings for arts use across Scotland. We now own approximately two thirds of our property portfolio, securing permanent studios for 400 artists.
In addition, our activities support the regeneration of many deprived communities across Scotland. We redevelop redundant, historic buildings into beautiful facilities for artists and charities, attracting jobs and improving the physical appearance of local communities.
We currently have one active project, in Inverness, and one recently completed project, in Perth. These locations were confirmed after an extensive demand survey was carried out in the respective creative communities. The results highlighted a clear dearth in facilities supporting artists, makers, and creative industries, and as such work began to identify funding support and suitable locations.
In Inverness we have completed the first phase of development of the B-listed 'Midmills buildings', the former Inverness Royal Academy. This project provides 32 high quality affordable studio spaces for 39 artists and makers. A planned second phase is at the fundraising stage and will provide exhibition, performance and events space, alongside a public cafe, workshop areas and offices for creative industries. The second and final phase is currently underway, see the progress so far here.
In Perth, Wasps identified a building, the former St John's School site, and worked in partnership with Perth and Kinross Council to deliver Perth Creative Exchange. Extensive refurbishment work commenced in January 2019, with the project completed in November 2019. This creative facility is an inspiring home for artists, makers, creative industry professionals and the general public. Perth Creative Exchange is our 20th building in Scotland, and our first studio building in this area. Find out more here.
We’re delighted that our work over the years has been recognised with a number of awards. In 2014 we won The Social Enterprise of the Year Award in Scotland. The Briggait project, which redeveloped part of Glasgow’s historic fish market into studios for over 80 artists and charities, won the coveted ‘Special Award for Scotland’ from the UK-wide Civic Trust Awards. South Block was the winner of the Doolan Award for Architecture in 2013.