Help us Save Aire Place Studios
Aire Place Studio (APS), a disabled and queer artist-led community interest company, faces the threat of losing our studio space and gallery due to the building being sold to developers.
We now seek your support to raise funds to secure new premises, retain staff, and support our studio members.
Our studios provide a crucial service of affordable and accessible creative spaces for all artists and freelancers, addressing barriers to access and promoting a sense of community. APS has made significant contributions to the city's creative landscape, supporting over 1500 artists and providing a home for around 340 individuals since 2015.
With your help APS can overcome this struggle and continue uplifting and empowering their community.
"The bulldozers are coming!"
Aire Place Studios CIC (APS) is a vital part of the Leeds Arts/Creative community, fostering collaboration and community engagement. Unfortunately, our building has been sold to developers and APS is facing the threat of permanent closure with rising costs of living and the elimination of DIY spaces due to city wide redevelopment. As a not-for-profit organisation, APS is committed to providing a platform for emerging practices and ideas. APS supports many local artists and creative small businesses by providing them with affordable studio space, and losing the current premises is a huge blow not only to APS, but to its members that rely on the space it provides. The studio focuses on facilitating the creation of unconventional art and meaningful discussions, believing that a vibrant and communal artist space centred around inclusivity will pave the way for innovation.
APS plays an integral role in bringing together projects centred around creativity, education, and inclusion. Through partnerships with local and national collaborators, APS provides spaces for individuals to engage in reflection and dialogue about the urgent issues that impact them. The organisation's collective values and experimental approach hold more significance now than ever before.
'APS provides space, support and community for those who struggle to find it and feel marginalised elsewhere. This is absolutely crucial as without this many would fall through the cracks of our society and continue to struggle when they don't need to. My own experience is a testament to this. I have seen time and again people come through APS that have been isolated for many reasons, and go on to gain the confidence to grow their own artistic practice or creative business. Many of these have eventually moved on to bigger spaces of their own thanks to their success at APS. The creative jobs that APS has supported has undoubtedly benefited the Leeds economy and helped to create and maintain business and jobs that would not exist otherwise. To lose this would be a an incalculable blow to the creative industry in Leeds and West Yorkshire.' APS Studio Member Myles Garstang, RuneFable Ltd
The money raised through this fundraiser will enable APS to secure new premises, retain its staff, support its studio members, and plan for the future. Your contribution will help APS continue to provide a platform for emerging artists and creatives and nurture collaborative communities. With your help, we hope to raise enough funding to support APS's future programme and sustain our vision to remain a key cultural agent for change.
Join the efforts to support APS and help preserve this crucial space for the arts community in Leeds.
The APS Story
APS is a unique art space that was founded in 2015 by Sarah Francis, an Artist and Curator. The studio was established to provide a secure and relevant work environment for artists and creatives who struggled to find their community. The studio began as a vacant industrial unit, which was hand-built and crafted from recycled materials and free labour. APS was created with no funding, as the founder had given up on the system that seemed to be against them.
“APS is a disabled-led space, which presents its own set of challenges due to varying symptoms and unique access requirements that affect day-to-day tasks. The board of directors at APS includes people with protected characteristics who have all experienced barriers to access. The studio was built to bridge the gap that they had fallen into. The primary goal was to create a supportive and affordable space that I did not have in my younger years, which often left me feeling isolated and impacted my ability to work as a freelancer. I did not want to fail, nor did I want others to fail. I built this space based on passion and drive to be the change I needed. My lived experiences of being queer and disabled inspired me to create a space that was different from what was already available. APS is a testament to the power of community and the ability to create something remarkable with limited resources..” APS Director Sarah Francis
In 2022, APS received National Lottery funding to develop and improve their sustainability. Despite knowing what needed to be done to strengthen their capacity, APS lacked the staff and financial resources to make it a reality. The funding was used to create paid core roles, training and development opportunities, and to form a business plan to secure future funding. Although finally feeling ready to take on anything the bulldozers are moving in to bring 10 years of struggle, hard work and ongoing resilience to dust.
However, APS believes in the power of innovation and positive change from those who are often told they cannot. The team behind APS set up the space after being told it was impossible, and they see the links to their communities as an opportunity to uplift and strengthen their voices. These communities offer opportunities for empowerment and unity based on shared experiences, and APS finds strength in the struggles they have faced and overcome. Despite facing multiple challenges such as the 2015 Boxing Day flood, the pandemic, energy hikes, and a cost of living crisis, APS is determined to overcome these obstacles with additional funding and support. They remain committed to their mission of empowering and uplifting their community through their projects and programming.
How your funding will help APS
Success in meeting our crowdfunder target will mean that we can secure our future elsewhere with the donated funds being allocated accordingly:
Research and Development Costs : The current business plan we worked on over the last 24 months is centred around our building APS needs to work out what is financially viable in this current climate for us and our team. We want to further develop a financially sustainable, people driven, operating model and programme to ensure that APS continues the work it does
Studio Members Support : Many of our members will not have a space to work, meaning more people out of jobs, and more people with a loss of income. We support many artists and creative businesses with studio space, and these will all have to find a new home. We want to make sure our team can support our members through relocating with us or setting up smaller temporary, or alternative permanent work space. This is all time and money we do not currently have.
Retention of Gallery and Studios : Pay off outstanding energy, rent, insurance and business rates bills while we try to move towards a new APS home.
Relocation of Gallery and Studios : We need to secure a 2-3 month deposit on new locations, and 2-3 month rent while we get building fit for purpose. We will need building materials, the cost of uninstalling and reinstalling our heating units, energy cost, insurance, and rates. We will need to hire vans to relocate our gallery and members - and most importantly we will need paid people power (as we firmly believe that everyone should be paid fairly for their work)
Retaining core Staffing Costs : Pay our staff for the foreseeable future, during a period in which we will operate the studios for as long as the developer allows us (12-18 months) whilst closing down our gallery & funded programmes. With a loss of funding and income streams we will have to reinvest time into a plan B as we safeguard APS into the future.
Thank you for you support in anyway you can! Please share, support or just keep our spirits up by telling us a fond memory of APS.
If you would like to get in touch to let us know another way you can help us save APS, or contribute to building a new studio space, you can contact us at:
We have a whole bunch of physical rewards including APS merch to say thank you, as well as some amazing events that you can buy a ticket to for yourself or someone else! These are sure to make a statement, whether with a live music event put on by our members Junk It, or by splattering paint all over the building!
To top it all off we're going to create a commemorative art piece that you can put your name on to remember our old building and the support of our backers!
APS Pencils & Stickers
Henry Sticker Set
10 random APS Artist Postcards
Henry 'Pay Artist' T-shirt
APS 'Pay Artist' T-shirt
Bingo Exhibition Entry - OPEN Call!
Bingo wheel picks artists for our first exhibition in our new Gallery! Artist Heather Keller said: “As an emerging artist who has lately been struggling to get my work in front of new eyes via open calls, BINGO was such a great way to not have to worry about who would be judging my art or whether it fit with a theme. It was up to the luck of the draw and I am excited to be a part of it and sharing this space with the other lucky artists.”
Paint Splash! Event
Artist Sarah Francis & Lucy Morrison come together to create a unique art installation at APS. It’s all about having fun with paints with no boundaries. We encourages you to drip, splash, splat, and create a mess with paint. To ensure that you can enjoy the experience to the fullest, we provide you with a jumpsuit, goggles, gloves and paint. Experience the joy of creating a masterpiece by throwing paint around!
This is be the starting base for a bigger art project but firstly lets just have fun!
Junk It x APS fundraiser Gig
Our amazing members Junk It will be hosting a night of live music, alongside a showcase or members stalls and art. This will be based in Leeds. More information to come.
Image Credit: PAPA Artist