Baltic Birthday The McKeown Rice Exhibition Space featuring Sculptor Laura Ford's 'The starting point for 'Days of Judgement'
Baltic Birthday Sculptor Laura Ford

Baltic Birthday

Liverpool’s creative quarter is five. But that’s not the only cause to celebrate. The area is outperforming the creative and digital sector nationally and has been gifted with a new art exhibition space.

Commissioned to coincide with the fifth anniversary ‘The Five Year Evaluation of Baltic Creative’ report, produced by Inner City Solutions has revealed that Liverpool’s creative and digital firms are contributing £1.4m a year to the Liverpool city region economy.

“What our businesses have achieved, in the last five years is phenomenal…”

Here are some highlights from the report:

  • Tenants have achieved a turnover growth of 7% per year and employment growth of 7.6% per year, outstripping growth in the sector nationally.
  • Baltic Creative has created 50 new jobs, assisted more than 60 businesses and supports 182 full-time jobs.
  • Its tenants add £1.4m a year to the regional economy.
  • The creative and digital sector in Liverpool accounts for 18,906 jobs (along with a sizeable freelance economy) and 3% of total employment (ONS, January 2014).
  • Nationally, creative and digital is worth £70bn a year, employs 1.68m people and represents 5.2% of the UK economy.
  • 24% of the businesses joined Baltic Creative from outside of the city and 10% of those were from wider Merseyside showing businesses have moved to the city because of the development.

Mark Lawler, managing director of Baltic Creative, said: “We were established to provide business space and be an advocate for creative and digital businesses within the area. We’ve also played a key role in regeneration. What we’ve achieved, what our businesses have achieved, in the last five years is phenomenal.

“While commercial properties in Liverpool have struggled Baltic Creative is fully let and our tenants have grown their businesses and are out-performing many other sectors.”

A new exhibition space has also been unveiled in the heart of Liverpool’s Baltic Triangle, dedicated to the memory of two founding members of Baltic Creative, Paul Rice and Claire McKeown. The McKeown Rice Exhibition Space is unveiled as part of the five year anniversary of the establishment of the Baltic Creative CIC.

Standing adjacent to the Baltic Creative Campus, the new exhibition space will display the work of a new artist every six to 12 months. Laura Ford, the first artist to exhibit, is a sculptor who has had her bronze cast sculpture exhibited all over the world including at Tate and the V&A Museum.

The plinth is curated by Castle Fine Arts Foundry, also based in the Baltic Triangle, and will enable both established and new artists to exhibit their work in the area.

Erika Rushton, Chair of Baltic Creative CIC, comments on the new exhibition space;

“Both Claire and Paul were instrumental in developing our vision for Baltic Creative which has played such an important role in the regeneration of Baltic Triangle. The space will provide an artistic focus for the neighbourhood, allowing both established and upcoming artists to showcase their work, adding both colour and creativity to the neighbourhood”.

Laura Ford, the first artist to exhibit in the space is a sculptor who has had her bronze cast sculpture exhibited all over the world including at Tate and the V&A Museum.

Cintia Prieto is from Castle Fine Arts Foundry and has led on the design and vision for the exhibition space, “The idea for the design was to create a neutral canvas”

Sculptor Laura Ford adds, “The starting point for ‘Days of Judgement’ was Masaccio’s fresco ‘The Expulsion from the Garden of Eden’. In this postlapsarian vision, however, the characters of Adam and Eve are reconfigured as a group of very tall, skinny cats dressed from head to foot in serious black clothing and cast, eternally, into Bronze Pacing the floor they appear to be in various states of anxiety and distress.

“Part cat burglar, part cartoon characters they not only evoke Dr. Seuss’s absurdist Cat in a Hat illustrations but also conjure something of T.S. Eliot’s anxious office workers in The Waste Land streaming over London Bridge wracked with existential angst. Here in Liverpool we have three of the cats on a corner of the Creative Quarter still pacing and anxious and, like today’s bankers ground down with the worry of financial and social collapse, still finding it very hard to return to Eden.”

For more information on Baltic Creative visit baltic-creative.com

For more information on the Baltic Triangle visit liverpoolbaltictriangle.co.uk

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Published: 28/11/2014

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