Ambitious artists and creative organisations have just days left to bid to secure a lease of a new arts space in the heart of London’s latest creative hotspot.

Be First launched its ‘Art in the Heart’ competition last month, calling for organisations and artists who would like to take on the 400 sqm space on the ground-floor of one of the stunning new towers in the Swan Housing’s 360 Barking development in Cambridge Road.

And backing the project is iconic artist and east ender, David Bailey.

He said: “This is an interesting project. Bringing art to the heart of places like Barking keeps art, relevant and real. The east end has always had heart, and art needs the east end.”

Councillor Darren Rodwell, Leader of Barking and Dagenham Council, said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for ambitious artists who share our ambition to make sure Barking and not Berlin is where it’s at in the arts world.”

David Harley, Be First’s Head of Regeneration, explains: “We want to hear from people who want help us build on Barking and Dagenham’s reputation as London’s latest creative hotspot.

“They should bring art to the heart of Barking by running the arts space for local residents to weave creativity into the fabric of our community.”

Geoff Pearce Executive Director of Regeneration and Development at Swan Housing Association, added: “Ensuring there was creative space for local artists, was at the heart of our design and development of 360 Barking along with much needed affordable homes.

“We are delighted to help promote and support this fantastic opportunity for local artists and to have contributed to the borough’s ambitions to be London’s newest destination for the creative industries.”

The winner of the competition will be selected in the Spring but the deadline to send in an application ends on 15 February.

Applicants will have to demonstrate how they will run the creative hub for the benefit of the wider community.

As part of the winning package they will receive a £250,000 fit out grant to get them started.

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