Rising costs force Hackney arts hub Open School East to relocate to Margate

Open School East members during happier times at the 2013 launch.

Open School East members during happier times at the 2013 launch. - Credit: Archant

An innovative art school set up to help creatives struggling with the cost of London living has itself been forced out of the capital – to Margate.

Open School East (OSE) will end its three-year stay at the Rose Lipman Centre in De Beauvoir and move 75 miles to the Kent coast in the new year.

Commissioned by the Barbican and Create London, the school was set up in response to the increase in university tuition fees and the rising cost of living in London and had artists including Jeremy Deller queueing up to offer their expertise.

But it has now found itself unable to make ends meet and, like many of the artists it has helped, is left with no choice but to leave.

Co-founder Anna Colin said: “You have to understand London is unsustainable. We can’t support ourselves and we have rent to pay.

“It is very sad we are leaving behind so many people but we need to re-locate to a location that is much less hostile.”

Once dubbed “London’s most talked about new art school”, OSE is reliant on donations, Art Council funding and public auctions to provide a select group of promising artists with free tuition, a space to work and a renowned mentor offering counsel.

Most Read

But Anna says the huge number of arts organisations competing for grants has made it much harder to fund its study programme, public art exhibitions and events covering topics from Marxism to cinema.

She also fears the rising costs in areas like Hackney is forcing artists out of London.

“It is hard to be a young artist in London,” she said. “Many are working three jobs just to get by. It is being drained of artists and things are looking very precarious.”

“There is a huge outflux of people leaving, they are being driven out and just can’t afford to live here.

“At the moment very few young artists can survive in London.”