There a quite a few aspects to networking and finding your feet in any business.
Do I need insurance?
Most working artists will need Public Liability Insurance (PLI) up to £10,000,000. It’s a necessary expense for showing work in organisations, for working directly with the public, and many other things.
I personally, get mine through Artists Union England. This is because I see many advantages to unionising free lance artists. Solidarity and legal advice if you need it, help with pay disputes, and helping to change the working conditions for artists so that we are paid on time, and paid fairly.
You can also get your insurance from AN – Artists Newsletter. I used to have my PLI with AN. They offer good cover and access to their magazine, which can have some great opportunities and articles. I moved across to AUE because it’s a union as well.
You can seek out PLI from Axis as well, I haven’t had insurance with these guys but it looks like a standard policy. https://www.axisweb.org/membership/about-artist-insurance/
Do I need to have a studio?
A lot of artists when they become a business like to take on a studio. I would suggest that you think carefully about the needs of your practise before you even begin your search. The needs of a painter will be vastly different to the needs of a photographer, or possibly a ceramicist or glass maker. Think about things like light, access to power, heating in the winter etc.
Shared studio spaces, Sunderland and Newcastle
Norfolk Street Arts based in Sunniside in Sunderland. Offering studio spaces, workshop space, exhibition space, and creative support. Often including paid residency opportunities.
Creative Cohesion another studio with spaces to rent in Sunniside area of Sunderland.
Frederick Street Gallery based in Sunderland has an art gallery and space for artists to paint.
National Glass Centre based in Roker, offers a combination of glass and ceramic facilities, art galleries, and studio spaces to rent.
Arts Centre Washington studio spaces, gallery and workshop spaces.
Newbridge project based in Newcastle has artist spaces, gallery shows, workshops and creative support.
Breeze Creatives based in Newcastle offering work spaces, shows and a creative network.
Newcastle Arts Centre offering studio space and support.
Cobalt Studios offering studio’s in the Ouseburn in Newcastle with a great creative community, regular events and shows.
36 Lime Street more studio’s in the Ouseburn in Newcastle with a great creative community, regular events and shows.
Brickworks studio’s based in Gateshead offering studio workspace.