Lots of artists and creative types pass through our doors every day, and we always love to hear about people’s projects – so, we’ve decided to take the initiative and venture out on to the streets of our fine city, to talk to some of our talented friends and to find out what’s afoot.
The Penthouse founders Rosanne and Debbie
We decided to start close to home, and went to visit our Northern Quarter neighbours at The Penthouse. Based on the 5th floor of Hilton House, 26-28 Hilton Street, The Penthouse is described by founder-directors Rosanne Robertson and Debbie Sharp as a space to experiment, where there is no such thing as failure, and art is not necessarily made for the purpose of being shown.
Moored – Dug up section of Ilkley Moor by Debbie
Hilton House itself is a beautiful and enigmatic building, boasting a turquoise tiled fish pond in the foyer (now empty and dry) which currently hosts the striking results of Natalie Finnemore’s ‘Pond Residency’.
Natalie Finnemore’s ‘Pond Residency’ from above
The idiosyncrasies and interesting details of the building are a constant source of inspiration for the artists who work at The Penthouse, with site-specific artwork being of particular interest. Thankfully there is a lift up to the fifth floor, making The Penthouse easily accessible, but we opted to take the spiral staircase, leaving us a little dizzy and out of breath but yielding some amazing views.
During our visit we were struck by an atmosphere of unrestricted experimentation, stumbling upon a sound sculpture on our way in, which turned out to be catching a tiny leak dripping from the ceiling.
Sound sculpture experimentation from Debbie
As well as housing four studio spaces, and incorporating the aforementioned fish pond, there are also two libraries at The Penthouse; a reference library built entirely on donations (shelves donated by us) contains an ever-growing range of publications, zines and art books, whilst a sound library is available for public perusal at open studios and events – here you are encouraged to use all of your senses.
The Sound Library
We also interrupted the activity of current resident artist Graham Dunning and past resident Gary Fisher, who were hard at work in suite 2. Graham has recently returned to Manchester, and is using his week-long residency to reflect on how his practice, and the City have changed since the last time he was here. On this Saturday the 13th he will be hosting an open studio from 1 – 5pm – so why not venture up the spiral staircase and see what he’s been up to?
For more information, and to find out about upcoming events and residency opportunities….