8 May 2024

Venture Arts receives Arts Council England funding to create exciting new resource for learning disabled artists in Manchester.

Three people sat at a table working on textile art projects.

The current Venture Arts studio.

Arts Council England have today announced projects that have been awarded funds through their latest Capital Investment Programme. As part of this funding one of Manchester’s leading artist studios, Venture Arts, has been awarded £355,000 to help upgrade and redevelop its studio spaces, providing a better experience and capacity to support more learning disabled and neurodivergent artists.

Venture Arts is an award-winning visual arts organisation working with learning disabled adults and young people. Based in Hulme, Manchester, their success over the past decade has seen artists exhibit across Manchester, the UK and Europe. Artists have been commissioned from organisations such as the Government Art Collection, and year-on-year more original art has been sold to both private and public collectors. This success and the growing need for a supported studio like Venture Arts, has meant the organisation has outgrown its existing studio and office spaces, and is unable to meet the need of the community.

The funding awarded by Arts Council England will enable the current spaces to be fully reconfigured in 2025, into a larger, accessible and environmentally sustainable venue, supporting the organisation to work with more learning disabled and neurodivergent artists, earn additional income, and transform the quality of the artists’ everyday creative experiences.

Venture Arts equips learning disabled people to succeed as artists, advocates, cultural workers, educators, curators and critics. Each year the team mentor over 100 studio artists across a wide range of specialisms. With a larger, more accessible space the organisation will be able to support more people and take on more collaborations and partnerships, which are integral to what they achieve.


“Venture Arts is an extremely well-loved and important organisation in the city and has been an integral part of our cultural partnership for over 15 years. I look forward to seeing how these plans develop and am so pleased that more disabled artists in the city will be able to benefit from their wonderful work, aligning perfectly with our continued commitment to Manchester being a truly equal and inclusive city.”
Dave Moutrey, Director of Culture and Creative Industries, Manchester City Council.

‘As chair of our disability-led steering groups, I am so happy that there’s going to be more space which will enable more opportunities. It will be nice to be all together and not all in separate spaces, I think it’s really important for the team, artists and community.’
Amber Stother, Public Engagement Assistant and Steering Groups’ chair, Venture Arts. 

‘Cultural venues enrich our lives, and it’s vital that their infrastructure matches the excellence of the creative work that goes on inside them. Our funding is helping both to create new venues and to adapt existing ones to make them more accessible, helping to deliver the Government’s plan to make sure that everyone, no matter where they live or what their background, has access to excellent, life-changing cultural opportunities.’
Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay, Minister for Arts, Heritage and Libraries.

‘We are incredibly grateful to Arts Council England for this investment, at this time, to help us make a superb space for disabled artists to work from. For years, it has been our dream to have a fully accessible studio space with modern, contemporary facilities that work for all of our studio artists. It’s just wonderful. When the works are complete we will be able to offer more residency opportunities and more projects for more people; building on our collaborations between artists and having the right elements in place to support the incredible work created by our studio artists. It will be a world-class accessible space and unique in Manchester. Thank you to all those who have helped us on the journey so far!
Amanda Sutton, Director, Venture Arts.

Gallery setting

Press contact:
For more information, please contact Debbie Cowley, Marketing and Communications Manager at comms@venturearts.org 


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