In recent years there has been a growing recognition of the value of affordable studio providers. Many studios provide a wide range of support and opportunities for artists in their studios, including professional development support and access to workshop facilities, broadband and creative equipment, as well as associate artist schemes.
The majority of studio organisations also provide direct benefit to the public, including open studios events, education and outreach programmes and public art projects.
Affordable studio providers and their member artists achieve substantial social benefit through their work with many different local, regional and national organisations and agencies - in education, training and community development - to encourage creativity, individual development and address social exclusion, offender, health and learning issues.
The NFASP 2010 Survey reveals that 75 per cent of all studio organisations provide activities that benefit the public. Regardless of their size, staffing and organisational status (i.e. whether they are a charity or not) studio groups are committed to delivering a wide range of activities for and with the public. Nearly all studio groups are involved with exhibitions open to the public, while the majority run open studios events and around half run practical workshops on and outside of the premises and are involved with public art projects.
In 2010, around 40 per cent of studio organisations were registered charities, 58 per cent companies limited by guarantee and 10 per cent unincorporated groups. A number of new studio organisations have been constituted in the new form of Community Interest Company (CIC). Although some organisations have paid staff, many are run on a voluntary basis, indicating that the sector is hugely supported by volunteering/unpaid labour.