Acme Studios — FAQ

Supporting Artists since 1972

COVID–19: Artist FAQ

Last updated: Monday 19 April

Are Acme's studios open?

All Acme studio buildings are currently open and continue to be regularly cleaned and restocked with soap and toilet paper when necessary.

Many of our artists have found studio accessible to be valuable to both their practice and wellbeing during this time, and we strongly recommend following official government guidelines regarding social distancing, safety and travel.

If you are feeling unwell, please do not use your studio. Please consult the latest advice from the NHS about Coronavirus (COVID–19), including what to do if you have symptoms, stopping the spread of infection and more:

What support is Acme offering its artists during the crisis?

Applications for Acme's Studio Practice Fund round two open on Tuesday 20 April.

The intention of this fund is to help Acme artists continue their studio practice in the face of difficulties and challenges brought about by COVID-19.

Click here to find out more.

What government support is available to artists?

Additional Restrictions Grants (ARG’s)
The Additional Restrictions Grant (ARG) provides local councils with grant funding to support closed businesses that do not directly pay business rates as well as

businesses impacted by Tier 2 Lockdown restrictions such as the 10pm curfew. Click to view the summary of local council provision:

Self-employment Income Support Scheme

If you are registered as self-employed, you may be eligible to claim a grant worth a percentage of your trading profits.

Deferring Income Tax payments
For Income Tax Self-Assessment payments due on 31 July 2020 can now be deferred until 31 January 2020. This is an automatic offer with no applications required.

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (extended to October 2020)
If you have any type of PAYE employment contract, including zero-hours or temporary, and are 'furloughed', you may be eligible to be paid 80 per cent of your wages through this scheme. Speak to your employer about whether they can claim through this scheme as individuals cannot apply directly.

Or, use the government's new Business Coronavirus Support Finder:

Do Acme's artists qualify for the Small Business Grant Fund (SBGF)?

This government grant, which is applicable to individual businesses in receipt of Small Business Rates Relief on 11 March 2020, is only applicable to artists who hold studios at Matchmaker's Wharf. The reason for this is due to how buildings are valued, and how rates and reliefs are applied by local authorities.

Our other buildings are in receipt of mandatory (charitable) rate relief and therefore not eligible for this government grant. The lack of even distribution of government support is disappointing, and a significant number of other artist studio providers with multiple buildings are in a similar position.

In this instance, Acme's role has been to ensure that all eligible artists at Matchmaker's Wharf are aware of their eligibility. We are currently lobbying for this grant to be extended to other artists and businesses.

Do Acme's artists qualify for a Discretionary Business Grant?

Update: this scheme is now closed

The government has announced a top-up to the Small Business Grant Fund to distribute monies to small and micro businesses who cannot apply to the SBGF because they are not the business rates payer

Called the Discretionary Grants Fund it’s aim is to prioritise businesses working from shared or flexible workspace as well as market traders and small charity properties that would meet the criteria for Small Business Rate Relief.

The scheme is being delivered by local authorities who are each running their own application processes and defining the eligibility for the grants.

Acme cannot apply due to its size but in some cases individual artists (registered sole traders) or organisations that have studios with Acme may be able to do so. They are suggesting the grants will be in the region of £10,000.

We are collating the relevant information for each borough below. We will continue to update this but if you are aware of further information regarding the application process please contact . At present most of the links are holding pages until the application process goes live.

You will need to apply to the borough your studio is in.

If you think you might be eligible we suggest you apply as soon as applications open, some boroughs are only open for applications for a short period and others are operating on a first-come first-served basis.

You’re still eligible if you’ve applied for the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme or the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme. You do not have to pay the grant back but it will be taxable. Only businesses which make an overall profit once grant income is included will be subject to tax.

You can find more information about the grants on the London Growth Hub website including a table of live schemes:

Carlew House

Childers Street

Copperfield Road



Fire Station

Harrow Road

High House


Leven Road

Matchmakers Wharf

Oaks Park

Orsman Road

Robinson Rd

Rowse Close

Warton House

What is Acme doing on behalf of its artists and the wider sector?

Since the crisis began, Acme has been working collaboratively with other artist studio providers to actively lobby the Treasury, the Greater London Authority, Arts Council England and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport to establish further financial support for our sector. Two funds have been recently announced in response – the Arts Council England Emergency Fund and the Mayor of London’s Culture at Risk Fund.

Arts Council England’s financial support is tied to its current strategic outcomes, and therefore unsuitable for artist studio rent relief.

Acme has received funds from the Creative Workspace Resilience Fund in order to assist our rent relief support for artists in necessitous circumstances. The Creative Workspace Resilience Fund is supported through the Mayor of London’s Culture at Risk Business Support Fund and the Creative Land Trust.

We are continuing our work to push for more significant funding to support our artists. Other groups, such as Artists Union England, Creative Industries Federation and CVAN have also been lobbying the government to support the wider creative sector. Working together, we are able to apply consistent pressure for support for those artists who are adversely affected by the crisis.

How do I contact Acme?

All staff are currently working remotely, and we are responding to artist inquiries and concerns as quickly as we can. If you have an emergency, such as a flood or break in, please contact Message Direct on 01202 866 776.

Please contact if you have any other queries - your message will be passed on to the relevant department.