Could it BE any cooler? The Royal Standard Gallery & Studios have finally opened the doors of their brand new, Baltic Triangle-based warehouse…
After 10 long years of exhibitions, performances and residencies, The Royal Standard (TRS) has upgraded. Swapping their old building in Everton, Liverpool, a few months ago for a brand new space in the Baltic Triangle, it was a second major move for the artist-led studios, gallery and project spaces.
Established in 2006 in an old pub in Toxteth, and moving into a former telesales office in Vauxhall Business Centre, Everton, in 2008, this site was looking a bit worse for wear. Leaks, poor heating, and the awkward distance from Liverpool city centre were some of the mounting issues concerning residents. A moving committee was assembled, and talks began with Baltic Creative studios Managing Director Mark Lawler, who was aiming to add a new arts-focused building to the Baltic Triangle-based CIC’s growing portfolio. Baltic Creative has been remarkably successful since its inception in 2009; seeing hundreds of tenants plough over £1.4million into Liverpool’s economy every year; transforming the post-industrial area into a tourist magnet.
Officially unveiled last Thursday, Northern Lights is the result: a brand new, airy, warm, safe and secure art space for anchor tenants TRS, and a fitting way to celebrate a decade of artistic activity. Located a few blocks down from Baltic Creative in a former Cains Brewery warehouse, Northern Lights is surrounded by cafes, bars, clubs, a skatepark and other art studios, rehearsal spaces and creative businesses (including Liverpool Biennial), and close to Liverpool’s waterfront and city centre. Northern Lights is also home to a huge events space, cutting-edge pop-up restaurant Xiringuito, independent publishers Dead Ink Books, and eco-friendly gift company BEEcycle.
TRS Director Greg Herbert was there at the official launch last Thursday to show us round.
“What I love about the new space”, says Herbert, “is us all being on the same site, rather that split between two buildings as we were on Vauxhall Road. Our move to Northern Lights has made the studios become so much more sociable; you now see people working in the social space and having a chat over coffee.
“Our new location in the Baltic Triangle has also meant that we have gained visitors that wouldn’t have normally come across TRS, which is therefore improving our outreach/accessibility and opens us up a larger variety of potential collaborations.
“My favourite part of the the move has been able to ensure that The Royal Standard’s amazing legacy can continue in a space that has been customized to our needs. It will ensure that the directorship — that for me has been such a life-changing and rewarding experience — will be able to continue supporting artists at different points of their career for many years to come!”
TRS are currently crowdfunding for a new workshop, library and project space to make their new home even more appealing — watch the video and get involved here.
Above: The concrete floor suggests Northern Lights’ past life as an industrial warehouse near to the Liverpool waterfront
Above: Paper costumes by TRS artist and studio member Becky Peach (photo credit Harry Johnson)
Above: TRS studio member and artist Joseph Cotgrave (L) talks to TRS Director Maggie Matic (R) (photo credit Harry Johnson)
Above: A pinbadge from TRS 10th anniversary exhibition Gettin’ The Heart Ready (photo credit Harry Johnson)
Above: close-up of materials and assemblages organised in Kevin Hunt’s studio space (photo credit Harry Johnson)
Above: A shot from the official launch of Northern Lights — with The Royal Standard street sign visible
Read more about Northern Lights — and watch a video of it in progress — here
Read more about The Royal Standard in C. James Fagan’s feature on their 10th anniversary here
All photos by The Double Negative, unless credited to Harry Johnson (also, top image)