With large-scale gatherings still on pause, Arts Council England Chairman Sir Nicholas Serota paid an informal, personal visit to celebrate the clean, green £2 million Phase 2 workspaces at Cornwall’s nationally acclaimed Krowji creative hub in Redruth – and bid farewell to outgoing CEO Ross Williams.
The two have worked tirelessly to promote the arts in Cornwall and as Ross passed the baton to Creative Kernow’s new CEO Dr Fiona Wotton the visit acknowledged the huge achievement of completion of the Percy Williams Building – just now rated Excellent in its BREEAM sustainability assessment.
New CEO, Dr Fiona Wotton, said: “We have created new workspace for Cornwall of the highest spec that both enhances the health and wellbeing of the people working here and helps protect natural resources. That was our ultimate aim – so with our brilliant design team we have thought about everything from communal tearoom layouts to electric vehicle charging points, from window ventilation to solar photovoltaic energy supply – and the BREEAM Excellent rating confirms that we’ve got it right! With a new focus on sustainability throughout all of Creative Kernow’s activity, we will be aiming to do even more to support the creative sector in addressing the climate emergency.”
Jewell Construction delivered the impressive final stage of this ambitious Krowji project, creating a further 21 studios, linked by a bridge to the £3.7 million Phase 1 building which opened in 2015. This adds coveted space for another 40 people to the 200-strong Krowji community of artists and creatives working on the site of Redruth’s upcycled old Grammar School.
Phase 2 of the state-of-the-art building was made possible by grants of almost £1.5million from the European Regional Development Fund and £250,000 apiece from Arts Council England and Cornwall Council: all organisations look forward to the day when they can gather to properly celebrate the successful completion of the project.
Phil Gibby, Arts Council England’s South West Area Director said: “It’s extremely impressive to see these fantastic studios opening, despite the additional complexities and challenges posed by the pandemic and we applaud Krowji for their resilience. We believe the creativity of each of us should be valued and given the chance to flourish and the new development not only benefits the artists and creatives that will be using the new studio space, but Cornwall’s wider creative industries and economy at large.”
Glenn Caplin-Grey, Chief Executive of Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership said: “This has been one of the fastest growing sectors before the Covid-19 pandemic and remains a significant pillar for the region’s economic recovery. Krowji is a much-admired model by other regions in the UK as well internationally and the expansion is responding to an increasing demand for sustainable, high quality, fit for purpose workspace and helping with the ongoing regeneration of the local area.”
Krowji was able to continue providing essential services to its community of existing tenants and arranging studio viewings for new applicants during the national lockdown. Despite the pandemic, the new building is around 85% occupied with a handful of spaces of varying sizes still available, some with double door access on the ground floor and others with fine views to the north Cornish coast.
Tenants working across the creative industries have taken up residence and are producing an inspiring array of work, from textile designers, landscape painters and print makers to design agencies and photographers.
To discover more about the Krowji journey which has seen a more than doubling of the original space from historic to state of the art studios, to find out more about Krowji’s work and partners and its flagship Percy Williams Building project, or to request a viewing of the wide variety of Krowji studio spaces available please visit https://www.krowji.org.uk/about/redevelopment/