Studio expansion paints bright future for West Yorkshire artists.

Brendan Hesmondhalgh, owner of Holmbridge Mill with Jayne Dannatt, relationship manager at Lloyds Bank

An arts centre based in a redeveloped textile mill in Holmfirth, West Yorkshire, is creating new studio space for lease to local artists, with support from Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking.

Holmbridge Mill, also known as the Sculpture Lounge, is at full occupancy with more than 20 artists leasing its studio space. The work underway to create new self-contained units within the building will increase its capacity to house up to 30 tenants. Its occupants include a mix of sculptors, painters, illustrators and other specialists.

The 23,000 sq ft facility was launched in 2018 following a £100,000 renovation of the old mill on Bank House Lane, Holmfirth. Lloyds Bank has backed the ongoing project with a £375,000 loan, as part of its pledge to lend up to £1.4 billion to Yorkshire businesses during 2019.

Run as a family business, Holmbridge Mill is owned by Brendan Hesmondhalgh, his wife Rebecca and in-laws Philip and Pam Robinson.

Brendan said: “It’s been extremely encouraging to see the positive reception that Holmbridge Mill has had locally. Lloyds Bank spotted the potential for us to provide this space, and has been an outstanding and trusted partner as we’ve expanded.

“West Yorkshire has a great sculpting heritage and a rich pool of talented artists that work across a variety of disciplines. Our studios are set against the backdrop of an isolated, beautiful woodland, so it’s an inspiring setting for sculptors and other artists to work and collaborate together.”

The region is home to the internationally-renowned ‘sculpture triangle’, with the Yorkshire Sculpture Park in West Bretton, Wakefield’s Hepworth Art Gallery and the Henry Moore Institute in Leeds all dedicated to celebrating sculpture.

From the mill, residents are now delivering courses and classes including life drawing, carving and ceramics. It also hosts art days for the community to visit and buy artwork at auction.

Jayne Dannatt, relationship manager at Lloyds Bank, said: “Brendan and his team have created an amazing space for the Holmfirth community to work in and enjoy. It’s a destination for inspiration and education, safeguarding West Yorkshire’s future as a hotspot for sculpting talent.

“We’re proud to be by the side of Brendan with this project as part of our commitment to help Britain prosper. We look forward to seeing the business continuing to grow as it capitalises on a clear opportunity for specialised leased space that, crucially, supports local culture and skills development.”

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