Will Barking be the new Berlin?
A new housing project, A House for Artists, may be the answer for artists to still be based in London without the high living costs. 12 new flats in Barking, London, will be rented out to creatives who will just pay 65 percent of market rent, in exchange for promoting arts in the local community.
The new residents will be a mix of recent graduates, older artists, and artists with families. In return, the new resident creatives will be working with the community, making art groups, film screenings, and holding local meetings in the community art centre. Grayson Perry will be deciding who can call Linton Road home, among a panel of judges.
The £3.5 million development includes a five-story block, where each flat is designed in a two bedroom warehouse format. Communal dining and workspaces will be made available too, encouraging communal child-care and co-hosting events.
This new artist-housing model may be the answer for other London boroughs struggling to manage existing community spaces and artists navigating the ability to live and work comfortably in London. Barking council’s regeneration company, Be First, will help bring plans to fruition.
“With the right artists working in a real place with real people, who knows where it will go?” Perry said of the project, according to the Evening Standard. “It’s a new artistic model.”
Resident artists will be selected through a UK-wide open call and interviewed this summer, with plans for moving in November 2019.
While great news for artists, creatives in other parts of the city continue to suffer as Hackney council recently voted to cannibalise its nightlife scene.