Constantly innovating, constantly pushing, the people behind Block T are artists who met in college, graduating a few years ago into a landscape where there were few opportunities for young emerging artists in the city. They made the brave decision to take on a mammoth disused warehouse building in the Smithfield area of the city – an area which was redeveloped in the mid noughties and quickly became a shiny new dead zone of empty commercial units and apartments with no tenants.
The scale of Block T’s ambition is such that their influence on the neighbourhood has been incredibly positive. Their current set up, in a large disused office block, holds over 70 individual studio units in which artists, designers and creatives work. Smithfield is becoming a buzzing new creative quarter and Block T were the first ones in.
As well as the studio spaces, they have recently claimed a ground floor former showroom which has become a large gallery for emerging artists work, and will soon also hold a café and print studio. The Directors are keen that Block T will always wash its own face, financially, and have set it up as a self-sustaining business. In a year when the national budget for the arts has been cut by yet another 8%, making a total of 38% of cuts over the last five years, this could prove to be a very smart approach.