Edinburgh printmakers secure £959,000 funding to boost impact

Edinburgh Printmakers (Jim Stephenson)

ONE of Scotland’s leading arts organisations, Edinburgh Printmakers, has secured almost £1M in funding from responsible finance provider Social Investment Scotland (SIS) to support its growth ambitions.

Established in 1967 as the first open access studio in the UK, Edinburgh Printmakers is an arts charity specialising in printmaking.

Castle Mills, the new £11M home of Edinburgh Printmakers, is one of the largest printmaking facilities created for artists in Europe, housing an enhanced open access print studio, traditional and digital processes, a dedicated learning space, artist accommodation, art galleries, a shop, a creative industries hub, café and print archive.

The loan from SIS will support Edinburgh Printmakers to increase its social and cultural impact, expanding the variety and scale of services it offers to communities, both locally and across Scotland. 

Some of the services currently provided by the organisation include: offering space and facilities for artists at heavily subsidised rates; engaging with schools and community groups to encourage participation in the arts; helping young artists through a combination of community learning, residencies and targeted support; and delivering education programmes to individuals and groups from diverse backgrounds to learn about the medium of printing.

Following the move to Castle Mills in Spring 2019, Edinburgh Printmakers welcomed 46,000 visitors in the first six months (May to December). The organisation is expecting further growth in visitor numbers in 2021, once lockdown restrictions have eased.

Chris Jamieson, head of investments at SIS, said:

“Edinburgh Printmakers has achieved a huge amount in its history and the recent move to Castle Mills creates an opportunity to significantly increase its cultural impact. I’m pleased that SIS has been able to support these ambitious growth plans, delivered by a team who are clearly passionate about increasing their positive impact on the surrounding community and arts sector in Scotland.

“At SIS, we believe that organisations such as Edinburgh Printmakers have a crucial role to play in rebuilding a more inclusive economy, where positive impacts for people and planet come first. That’s why we’ll continue to take a leading role in not just helping these organisations weather the storms of the pandemic, but to help them look towards sustainable growth as the rebuilding process takes hold.”

Shân Edwards, Chief Executive of Edinburgh Printmakers, said:

“After a hugely uncertain year we are delighted to have secured this investment from SIS to help us reopen, rebuild and reimagine our programmes. As we look to the future, we’re focused on how we can support artists, who have seen their income and opportunities limited by the pandemic, along with the communities and audiences that have also been badly impacted. An expansion of our education programmes along with subsidised facilities and new residencies for artists are just some of the projects that we will be embarking upon over the next 18-months and we are grateful for SIS support to help us achieve these ambitions.”

SIS is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year. Established in 2001, SIS has since invested almost £100m of loan finance in helping community enterprises and social businesses have a positive impact on people’s lives, society and the environment. Over the past year, SIS has taken an active role in leading the support for Scotland’s third sector and social enterprises during the pandemic, providing more than 800 support interventions for people and organisations from the third sector, approving £2.9 million in loan funding through the Third Sector Resilience Fund and supporting 22 of Scotland’s Credit Unions through the Credit Union Resilience Fund.

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