Skip to main content

Project Art Works

Arts & Culture Impact Fund

Project Art Works is an Arts Council England National Portfolio Organisation and charity based in Hastings. The organisation will use investment to purchase a property, enabling expansion of its work with neurodivergent artists whilst also increasing earned income potential.

Project Art Works

Region: South East
Discipline: Visual Arts
Investment size: £750,000

The Organisation

Project Art Works is an Arts Council England National Portfolio Organisation and charity based in Hastings. They collaborate with people with complex support needs, families and circles of support. Their practice intersects art and care, responding to neurodivergence, its gifts and impacts. Challenging paradigms of inclusion, it spans direct practical and holistic support, film, events, projects and exhibitions. Their studios provide the conditions for a broad range of autonomous and collaborative creative practices with neurodivergent people, who take part on their own terms. The team works closely with families and carers through training, peer support and advocacy, and within the cultural and care sectors to promote more diverse representation of neurodiverse people and those who care for them. Recent accolades include being shortlisted for the 2021 Turner Prize and being one of the fifteen collectives selected in 2022 for documenta fifteen, a prestigious exhibition of contemporary art which takes place every five years in Kassel, Germany.

 The Opportunity

Project Art Works approached Arts & Culture Finance as Trinity Hall, a Victorian school building and accompanying house next door to the organisation’s current premises, was put up for sale in April 2022. Acquiring Trinity Hall had been a long standing dream for the organisation as it would allow them to:

  • scale their existing programmes through increased studio and workshop space,
  • expand earned income opportunities through space rental, sector consultancy on inclusive practice and the development of its extensive archive,
  • develop studio space dedicated to working with more complex support needs who may not be able to access any other community-based provision.

The site adjoins Project Art Work’s existing office and studios and together the two spaces have huge potential to build a place for exchange, residencies, learning and creative production.

The Process

The Arts & Culture Finance team had to undergo extensive due diligence to get comfortable with Project Art Work’s financial projections, fundraising pipeline and approach to risk management should income fall short or delays to the refurbishment of Trinity Hall have knock-on effects to delivery. The risk involved in wholly funding a capital project within the current economic environment was offset by ACF’s confidence in the experienced management team, the organisation’s impressive track record of fundraising as well as the potential for a high impact ‘return’ on the investment through the development of new income streams.

The Impact

Ownership of Trinity Hall will provide Project Art Works with stability and permanence in the community as an anchor for neurodivergent children and adults in East Sussex, with the hall increasing the organisation’s capacity to meet a critical need. Investment in the building will also allow the team to leverage more earned income and a diversified business model, in the long-term, will enable Project Art Works to deliver more programming with neurodivergent people, and deepen understanding and opportunity in the cultural and care sectors.