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Fund-raising push goes on

Work due to begin on Printmakers’ new home

Sarah Price

Sarah Price: ‘we need more business support’ (photo by Terry Murden – DB Media Services)

Creative hub for Fountainbridge

After five years of planning and fund-raising, building work is due to begin on a vibrant new creative hub in Edinburgh.

Sarah Price, chief executive of Edinburgh Printmakers, is now seeking the final £1 million of a £10m project to convert derelict former industrial buildings in the Fountainbridge area and revitalise the area.

The C-listed former HQ of the North British Rubber Company will be gutted and form a centrepiece of the development.  

It will provide a new home for graphic designers, jewellery makers, fashion and textile designers, ceramicists, website designers, architects and model makers.

They are expected to gain access to design expertise, shared knowledge and business support at various stages in their careers.

Construction will begin at the end of March with a scheduled opening in April 2019.

The Castle Mills project has been a labour of love for the one-time actress who first arrived in Edinburgh as part of a circus troupe. She previously worked in the arts in West Lothian and now heads up one of the most ambitious creative projects in Scotland.

Raising the final funding is a key focus for Ms Price who said: “We really need to raise awareness in particular with the business community.

“We also plan a push on heritage engagement and a greater involvement with school groups and environmental projects.”

Patrizio Belcampo, artist

Patrizio Belcampo, one of the professional artists at Edinburgh Printmakers (photo by Terry Murden)

Edinburgh Printmakers, currently housed in Union Street at the top of Leith Walk, is established as a specialist centre for fine art printmaking offering open access to printmaking facilities, running year-round exhibitions and events and offering learning opportunities for all.

But the former wash-house is itself in need of repair and refurbishment which is likely to cost £1m. The new facilities will be fresh and more suited to attracting casual visitors and families as well as being a place to work.

Ms Price added: “The Castle Mill Works and Edinburgh Printmakers will provide world class production facilities for practitioners, and each year expects to attract more than 30,000 visitors to exhibitions and engage 4,300 participants in interpretation and learning activities. 

“We’re delighted with how architects Page/Park have integrated the incubator plans into the development and the opportunity to make such a positive impact on both the local community and Edinburgh’s reputation as an international creative capital.”

Impression of new centre

Studio Director Alastair Clark said: “The new building will give us more space, a bigger studio, three larger galleries. We will be able to represent more artists and we will be able present exhibitions on an ambitious scale.

“Our education programme will be expanded and we will have more ways of bringing people in.”

Councillor Richard Lewis, Convenor of the Council’s Culture and Sport Committee said: “The Council has been hugely supportive of the Printmakers’ plans for a Creative Industries Incubator.

“It has the potential to transform the Castle Mill Works and provide a real boost to the arts in Edinburgh.

From helping people to discover and connect with their own creativity to providing an employability service specifically for the creative industries, their plans would see this derelict listed building turn into Fountainbridge’s cultural centre.”

The  Scottish Government’s Regeneration Capital Grant Fund provided the first award of £1.93m. 

Castle Mill Works has also been supported by Heritage Lottery Fund, Creative Scotland, Historic Scotland, the Architectural Heritage Fund, Garfield Weston, Robertson Trust, PF Charitable Trust, Turtleton Charitable Trust, Dunard Fund, Binks Trust and other trusts and foundations as well as already attracting valuable individual and corporate donations. 

Edinburgh City Council has made a commitment to the venture by leasing the building to the Printmakers for 125 years at the cost of £1.

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