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Whisky bond gets new lease of life as art studios

WORK is progressing at pace on the conversion of an empty Glasgow whisky warehouse into a new £2.5 million home for sculptors and contemporary artists.

The seven-storey whisky bond, a 100,000sq ft red brick building next to the Forth and Clyde Canal in the Speirs Lock area of the city, is being transformed into the new home of Glasgow Sculpture Studios.

The premises, built in 1957 and owned by British Waterways, have been empty for more than 10 years. It was last used as a mushroom factory before falling into disuse.

It will now be the place of work for some of Scotland's leading contemporary artists, including Turner Prize-nominated figures such as Nathan Coley and Christine Borland, Alex Frost and Laura Aldridge.

Bricked-up windows have now been knocked out to let light back into the cavernous interior.

Glasgow Sculpture Studios is one of the key organisations for artists in Scotland, boasting more than 50 members, including David Shrigley, Calum Stirling and Claire Barclay and its premises are used by artists such as Jim Lambie and Toby Paterson.

The redevelopment of the building will add another landmark to an area quickly becoming a key hub of Scotland's cultural landscape.

The National Theatre of Scotland, the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama and Scottish Opera have offices or facilities at Speirs Lock, with The Glue Factory, another revamped industrial space, providing a new centre for contemporary art display.

The redeveloped bond will re-open next year with at least 40 studios. The top four floors are to be rented by small companies, artists and businesses in the creative industries.

The development will also create a public gallery, temporary work spaces, and a cafe.

Funding for the redevelopment has come from Glasgow City Council, Creative Scotland and a mixture of trusts and other sources, as well as investment by Isis, a company set up by British Waterways, and backing from the Glasgow Canal Regeneration Partnership.

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