Arena Studios

A review by the Sunday Express 1985.  “The House that Duffy built.”

Arena Studios, once a brewers warehouse, is now the hot-house of Liverpool’s most creative young talent. Its the brainchild of Terry Duffy, a Liverpool artist whose name is rather more familiar within the artistic community of New York than in his native city.

Duffy went to the Liverpool School of Art at 13 and in the intervening years has established an international reputation. He felt frustrated teaching students whose future, once they left school, was worse than bleak, and he felt irritated by what he saw as the city’s cynical and inert response to their plight. He was convinced that their was talent in the city; all that was needed was a creative and supportive environment from which it could emerge. To prove that success does indeed generate success, he put borrowed money where his convictions were and started Arena.

In the short time the place has filled up with thriving businesses. The range is as great as any small workshop complex: there are graphic artists working alongside fashion designers, photo-journalists in rooms opposite silk-screen printers, musicians practising alongside small scale publishers. But Duffy’s vision is by no means parochial: “Everyone here catches on to the energy in the place and our joint aim is for international success rather than just relying on local recognition. We’ve are proving that we’re commercially viable.”

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