Rogue Artists Studio has completed its move out of Capital & Centric’s Crusader Mill in Manchester city centre, taking over a Victorian former school in Openshaw as its new headquarters.
Rogue is made up of nearly 100 artists. The collective has been based in Crusader since 2000, but began its search for new premises after Capital & Centric’s acquisition of the 200,000 sq ft mill complex, which is set for restoration and conversion into 201 apartments.
Varna Street School totals 60,000 sq ft and has been largely vacant since 2012, when the school relocated to new premises nearby.
The site has been transferred from council ownership to Rogue.
The buildings were subject to a change of use application earlier this year, as well as listed building consent to make repairs. The Secretary of State for Education has also signed-off the use of the property for studios.
The first phase of the scheme has seen the artists locate out of Crusader, while a later phase could see a more extensive refurbishment of the building, should Rogue gather sufficient funds.
Varna will include artist studios, workshops, and dance classes. A caretaker’s house will be kept as on site accommodation for an artist in residence.
Capital & Centric worked closely with Rogue to keep the artists together.
Martin Nash, co-director of Rogue Studios said: “We’ve forged a unique model of partnership by working with Capital & Centric and Manchester City Council to find a way of securing Rogue’s future. Our new home at Varna Street is fantastic and the perfect space to enable our artists to carry on doing what they do best.
“We’re very proud of our Manchester roots and wouldn’t want to base ourselves anywhere else.”
The studios’ significant contribution regionally to fine art means that Rogue Studios also has funding support from Arts Council England through its National Lottery funded Grants for the Arts programme.
Tim Heatley of Capital & Centric said: “From the moment we acquired Crusader Mill we knew the priority, in addition to safeguarding the building’s future, was to protect Rogue’s future.
“As a result of our collaboration with the various stakeholders and the hard work of Manchester City Council we’ve left Rogue in a much better position than before. I’m also delighted to be continuing to work alongside Rogue as a sponsor of their future activity. This is the start of a journey with Rogue that will see great work created from their new studios.”