ReOrsa artists fear becoming homeless due to regenerationBy Becky Barnes
January 18, 2013
A group of artists fear they may be homeless when they move out of Broadway to make way for the regeneration.
ReOrsa, which has occupied various empty shops in the town, will not be able to afford commercial rents when it vacates Gallery@49, one of the units earmarked for demolition.
Janet Curley Cannon, ReOrsa director, said: “We have always known once the regeneration got going we would have to move and we have had more time than originally anticipated.
“Two years has become nearly seven and the potential for what we have had has been wonderful thanks to Bracknell Regeneration Partnership (BRP) and the council giving us rate reductions.
“You can understand they need to have these places empty – I hope them asking us to move means the work is going to start.”
In 2006 BRP and Bracknell Forest Council offered the group temporary studio space in the High Street, then at the far end of Broadway and then at the former site of loss-making Family Tree Nursery from Summer 2011. The site houses eight artists.
ReOrsa has put on 15 free non-commercial exhibitions showcasing more than 50 artists and has run several projects, including filling empty shops with eye-catching displays.
Janet said: “It has been absolutely wonderful.
“Having affordable studio space is a luxury most artists do not have. Most can’t afford space to live as well as studio space.”
Janet said the average artist can afford about £6 per square metre, but commercial space is on offer at £15 to £18 per square metre.
She added: “We are willing to talk to any kind of property developer or building owner.
“We are very tolerable we can adapt places very easily – light and airy are our two concerns.”
If ReOrsa can find an affordable rent or a space to occupy it promises to offer cultural activities in return.
Janet said: “We have tried to give something back to the community and engage with the public.
“A little bit of give and take can go a long way.”
Janet, from Crowthorne, based some of her work on Bracknell’s regeneration creating 19 drawings and one digital fresco titled ‘Observations on a Town’.
She added: “I am still hopeful to find something in the area and I would love to be here to see the regeneration.”