Lewisham’s arts centre is housed within an impressive building that has elements of the Classic Renaissance style as well as the Edwardian era it was constructed in. Initially a library, the building went through many ups and downs over the years, such as the two World Wars and a period in the 90s when the library closed and it became a squat – it also suffered from vandalism that cost approximately £70,000 to repair. In 1994 it became Lewisham Arthouse, thanks to the tireless work of volunteers. 45 spaces were developed to be used as artist studios, primarily for those who are at the start of their careers. The studios are opened to the public once a year during the London Open House Weekend, however the gallery is open from Wednesday to Sunday and admission is free. Today the rooms are used as artists’ studios, music rehearsal rooms, workshops, for life drawing classes, yoga lessons, exhibitions and other events. The diverse program of courses includes pottery, photography and botanical illustration offered at different levels, with some being women-only; children’s after-school activities and classes are also scheduled.