Wasps, one Scotland’s leading arts organisations, has appointed a renowned expert in urban regeneration as its new chair.
Andrew Burrell, the architect who runs The Burrell Company, takes up the role at one of the most exciting moments in Wasps’ history.
His experience fits perfectly with the role of Wasps Artists’ Studios (WASPS Ltd) which specialises in reviving redundant buildings of architectural interest and transforming them into affordable studio space for artists and arts organisations.
Andrew will be chair of the entire Wasps family, which consists Wasps Artists’ Studios (WASPS Ltd) and The Wasps Trust (which are charities) and Wasps Creative Industries CIC (a Community Interest Company).
He said: “It’s an honour to be asked to chair the newly amalgamated boards of the various companies within the Wasps family. Wasps has a deservedly enviable reputation as an innovative organisation delivering affordable workshop space for artists and other creative talent throughout Scotland for nearly 40 years.
“The continuing need for such space, as evidenced by the strong demand for each new Wasps property, is a healthy indication of the extent and breadth of Scotland’s talent in this industry. The economic, social and cultural rewards for all of us are significant.
“It is my hope that the executive, board and our tenants and artists will continue to show their endeavour in ever more imaginative ways to regenerate new properties and enhance existing spaces for current and future generations.
“I would also like to express my thanks to both Chairs of The Wasps Trust and Wasps Artists’ Studios, Ian Wall and Steve Inch, for their contribution to the company to date.”
The move comes with Wasps looking to push forward with plans to create a new centre for circus, dance, street theatre, trapeze and aerial performance at its headquarters at The Briggait in Glasgow’s Merchant City.
David Cook, Wasps Chief Executive, said: “It’s brilliant to have Andrew as our new Chair – he has a wealth of business experience and a close understanding of our aims and objectives. He is also renowned for some of the best regeneration projects in the country, which makes him ideal for the role.
“Andrew’s arrival coincides with a time of huge and positive change which has seen Wasps develop into an ever-more vibrant organisation which is contributing greatly to the development of the arts in Scotland.
“As Chair of the entire group he will oversee the management of Wasps in order to achieve its ambitious plans for future growth.”
Wasps has grown rapidly in recent years. In 2011 it completed the £3.5 million regeneration of South Block, in Merchant City. This has seen the former textile warehouse transformed to provide an exciting mix of low cost studio space for fine artists and craft makers, plus offices for social enterprises and commercial businesses from the arts and cultural industries. South Block won the RIAS Andrew Doolan Best Building in Scotland Award 2013.
Wasps has a total of 15 other sites across Scotland making it one of the largest providers of arts studios in the UK.
Over the decades it has raised and invested millions of pounds to support thousands of artists and hundreds of arts organisations. Despite the tough economic climate it has been economically successful and has now become self-financing.