The SO Launches Scheme to Uplift Eastleigh's Artistic Community

 Mar 15, 2016

Thanks to a grant from Arts Council England, The Sorting Office studios is beginning a new programme, which will provide valuable support to local artists outside of its existing community of resident artists.

The Sorting Office Associate Programme (SOAP) will see the bustling studios on Wells Road share its expertise and extend its support to artists and designer-makers in the region.

The programme will grow a wider artistic community in Eastleigh and its surrounding areas, bolstering Eastleigh’s flourishing cultural scene by offering local artists opportunities to build partnerships and share ideas.

SOAP is being officially launched by fashion designer and co-founder of British fashion brand Red or Dead Wayne Hemmingway MBE at an event celebrating The Sorting Office’s third birthday on May 13, an exclusive event to which SOAP members will be invited.

In the meantime, local artists are being encouraged to sign up for the scheme, which provides a host of benefits, including professional development workshops, discount on stalls at Sorting Office events and significantly reduced rates of hire for The Sorting Office’s Production House workshop facility and Screen Printing Cabin.

Other benefits include:

Eastleigh Borough Council Head of Culture Dr Cheryl Butler said:

“The Sorting Office Associate Programme (SOAP) is a wonderful opportunity for artists and designer-makers to become part of a wider network of creatives and highlights the value the Arts Council sees in places such as The Sorting Office in the development of small designer-maker businesses.

“By becoming part of the SOAP community designer-makers will be given support to help grow their businesses by learning from established artists, to share ideas, while gaining access to a host of professional development opportunities, including a number of routes to markets activities.

“In a wider context, the introduction of SOAP continues to grow Eastleigh’s reputation as a centre for arts and culture, by providing a membership scheme which will be a significant benefit to local artists not yet involved with the studios.”

To find out more about the programme, The Sorting Office is hosting an introduction night to SOAP on April 7 from 6PM at the Wells Road studios. You will get the chance to hear from several of The Sorting Office residents as well as from former international buyer for Next, and founder of Sorbet Living Debbie Gent, who has joined the studios as a Professional Development Mentor and will be involved in the SOAP programme. To book your place on this FREE event, go to: