Leeds artists find new home at music charity amid Mabgate regeneration plans

Hope Foundry, home of MAP charity.
Hope Foundry, home of MAP charity.
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Artists who were left without a base when their studio complex closed to make way for a huge housing development have found a new home at a charity which is also fighting to save its building.

Music and arts organisation MAP Charity is currently trying to raise £2.4m to buy its long-term base at Hope Foundry in Mabgate, close to the site of a proposed 1,200 flat student village. As reported in the YEP last month, developers Future Generation are seeking permission for six blocks of flats, which, if approved, could be complete by September 2021.
As part of the scheme, Lady Beck studios, which were situated on land where the flats are planned, has closed, leaving 25 stallholders looking for a new base. Since launching the campaign to safeguard its future in December 2017, MAP has been able to accommodate eight new artists into Hope Foundry, including artists recently evicted from Lady Beck studios.

Hope Foundry, home of MAP charity.

Hope Foundry, home of MAP charity.

Lady Beck’s manager Emma Hardaker said closing was not an “easy choice” but as rents were pushed up in light of development plans, it was “too risky” to continue at Mabgate, which has in recent years, become a “wonderfully diverse” hub for creatives.

MAP’s project director, Tom Smith, said: “For years Mabgate has been home to a thriving community of creative businesses, craftsmen and artists. With new redevelopments occurring on our doorstep we’re aware that these people are being priced out of their spaces, so we want the Hope Foundry project to be a hub and a new home for those pushed out.

“It’s a shame to see our neighbour Lady Beck close down, but we’re glad to be able to provide a workspace for some of their artists, who in turn can support our vision to help even more artists in their position.”

MAP is currently on track with its fundraising campaign to acquire Hope Foundry, where it has been based since , and start refurbishing it into a creative hub for the community by the end of 2019.

Printer Joe Duffield, who is based at MAP Charity's studios at Hope Foundry.

Printer Joe Duffield, who is based at MAP Charity's studios at Hope Foundry.

Mr Smith added: “Our campaign is looking really positive and we’ve attracted significant support and donations from the public and are talking to grant funders about supporting the project.”