Brixton Arts Co-op Opens
urban75 remembers a short-lived arts space in the heart of Brixton
Report/photos by Editor, October 17th 2005
After lying empty for four years when developers happily failed to get permission for a trendy bar for scootstick-toters, the old Brixton Cycles Co-op building on Coldharbour Lane was occupied on the 30th September, 2005.
Declaring their actions as 'Direct Community Action under Section 6 of the Housing Act', the police weren't too impressed with twelve (twelve?!) turning up on the following Tuesday, apparently in an attempt to intimidate the new tenants.
The squatters were having none of it, but after the police left, the owners of the property pushed their way in and refused to leave.
A stand off followed, with a poster on urban75 reporting that, "after threats of intimidation from the owners and a refusal by the new occupiers to back down a deal has now been done", adding that the plan is to open as an art space, holding their first open day on the following Saturday afternoon.
'Brixton Arts Co-op' was born!
The next day, a post on urban75 revealed that an 'amicable arrangement' has been struck with the owners, and the short term future of the arts space secured.
The squatters have stated that they intend to make as much of the venue as possible, with performing, musical, visual and interactive arts on the ground floor, a work space on the middle floor and residence on the top.
The idea is for the space to be open each weekend with different exhibits, although it was in full swing when we visited on a Monday afternoon!
We're delighted to see a community arts project springing up in the centre of Brixton again, and it's great to see the old bike shop being put to good use at last.
Those of you who remember the legendary Cooltan Arts squat will definitely recognise a few familiar faces around the place, and we look forward to reporting on further developments in the space.
Update: Feb 2006. Brixton Arts has now been evicted.
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