Before Spike Island, there was Artspace…As part of the celebrations for Artspace’s 40th anniversary, Test Space presents ‘Slider’ a lightbox installation of photographic transparencies contributed by founder members, current studio holders, Associates, staff and volunteers – and everyone in between – who have benefited from that initial primal energy of Artspace as it has grown and been transformed into the complex inter connective agency that is the current Spike Island.Artspace was founded in the mid-1970s by a group of painters, sculptors and printmakers who sought out and administered affordable studio spaces for artists in Bristol. Working co-operatively, the collective was able to reduce costs by sharing space and equipment, and securing discounts through bulk purchasing art materials. 2016 marks the 40th anniversary of the initial lease of Artspace’s first home, the McArthur’s Warehouse on the Harbourside.
The Artspace artists converted and occupied this disused Victorian warehouse until 1998 when, due to the threat of increased rents and a proposed re-development of the site, the organisation moved to its current premises, a nearby former Brooke Bond tea packing factory, and changed its name to Spike Island.
Today, Spike Island is an international art centre and one of Europe’s largest studio complexes.