Artist & Trade Zone

@ The Art Ministry


Posted by The Art Ministry Team on December 6, 2006


This is the story of ten years of strenuous and continuous voluntary work, by a group of artists in order to develop a non-commercial art and cultural establishment to serve the multicultural community in the London Borough of Ealing. However it seems that the reward for this hard work and the commitment to and from our service users and the community is to evict us from our premises.

The ARK was first established in 1996, when we renovated derelict premises in South Ealing Road to create an arts community centre. We were offered a twenty-five year lease for our efforts to insure the continuation of the project. However prior to our signing the lease were informed that the premises had been sold. Our current premises at the Old Stable Block yard were offered to us as a temporary solution to accommodate our programme of events and were guaranteed assistance in finding alternative suitable premises. However we have been informed through recent communications with the council that they are unable to assist us and that we have to leave our current premises by January 2007. There seems to have been no consideration given to our programme or the users of our service in this decision.

We are writing in good faith that someone will be able to clarify our legal position in terms of the council’s responsibility to relocate the project once we are evicted from the Old Stable Block premises.

We are a non-profit making voluntary organisation and do not have funding to pay a business rent. We can demonstrate our worth to the council through the evidence of work that we provide to disadvantaged groups within the community and the high regard and support for our work expressed by users and professionals in the borough.

The ARK is an artistic cooperative run by a committee of local artists who work voluntarily to provide a space for innovative and creative issue based art forms that aim to challenge themes such as racism, displacement, and minority groups.

We provide a weekly studio space to refugee artist groups, users of the mental health system, artists in exile, filmmakers. We host events such as individual and group exhibitions, ‘conversations with artist’s evenings’. These events are open to the general public to create links between our members and the local community, supporting and understanding of the diverse cultures present in the Borough of Ealing and promoting social inclusion.

Over the years we have developed Partnership work with West London Mental Health Trust, Hounslow Social Services, local artists, Art Therapists and filmmakers etc. We have managed to create links with Arts in Health organisations and are collaborating with more traditional art institutions. There is growing interest in our work as we are meeting government agendas in terms of promoting user participation and social inclusion. We offer a distinct provision which benefits the borough and is therefore of worth to the council, particularly in the current climate of community development.

We can show that our project benefits people who experience economic hardship, black and minority ethnic groups, disabled people and their carers and supporters in the community in exploring and sharing heritage and diverse traditions and cultures.

We hope that our artistic cooperative will be seen as a valuable resource from within the refugee community to the people of Ealing.

The Ark Studios

We hope that you will support the ARK studios, a local Ealing arts group who have been given notice of eviction. Yousif Naser, one of our key Featured Artists at The Art Ministry spearheads the ARK, contributing to the creative and cultural milieu in Ealing.

The Ark has a petition to be sent to key personal in Ealing Council, MP’s and MEP’s with the hope that they will step in and assist the ARK with alternative premises. Recently a spokeswoman from Ealing council gave a statement in the Ealing Gazette stating that help would be given to find new premises, but not a time frame.

Your support will ensure that the council keeps to their word and the ARK is not cheated out of another building.

The petition can be sent via email or post, a copy of the petition can be obtained here

Thank you for your support.

Shakila Taranum Maan & Anita McKay at The Art Ministry


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