About Nesta

Nesta is an innovation foundation. For us, innovation means turning bold ideas into reality and changing lives for the better. We use our expertise, skills and funding in areas where there are big challenges facing society.

Who are we investing in?

Southbank Mosaics is a non-profit social enterprise based in the crypt of St John’s Church near London’s Southbank.

It runs an open studio where volunteers and members of the public can learn about mosaic design and help with creating public realm art works, and offers a variety of courses, some of which are accredited through the National Open College Network.

Since opening in 2004, Southbank Mosaics has created over 300 installations, helping to revive many public spaces scattered around central London.

As part of its social mission it also actively works with young people from disadvantaged backgrounds, children and adults with disabilities or mental health problems and young offenders coming through the local Youth Offending Services, giving marginalised members of society a way to positively transform their lives.

What are we investing in?

The Arts Impact Fund has provided a loan of £600,000 to help Southbank Mosaics establish the London School of Mosaic, a small educational institute that would offer a range of mosaic courses, including the world’s first degree in mosaic art.

The London School of Mosaic will draw on the technical skill and artistry developed within Southbank Mosaics and blend this with an academic programme designed in collaboration with experts in mosaic art from King’s College London and the Victoria and Albert Museum. Although the two entities would operate independently, the cross-pollination between them will markedly increase their joint artistic and social impact, not least by encouraging enrolled students to volunteer at Southbank Mosaics.

The ambitious initiative will help the organisation build its balance sheet and diversify its revenue streams, while at the same time it will support the longevity of an age-old art form and facilitate the preservation of mosaic heritage across England and beyond.

Read the full case study on London School of Mosaic on the Arts Impact Fund website.

Visual arts