Digswell Arts Trust: A Unique Perspective

The Digswell Arts Trust, nestled in the heart of Hertfordshire, has been a beacon for artists for over six decades. Established as the brainchild of the pioneering educationalist Henry Morris, the Trust has been instrumental in supporting and nurturing the talents of countless artists, some of whom have achieved international acclaim.

Historical Roots

The Trust’s origins can be traced back to Digswell House, a regal Regency mansion accompanied by cottages and outbuildings on the fringes of Welwyn Garden City. This mansion was the Trust’s first home, providing affordable accommodation and studio spaces for artists. Over a span of 27 years, nearly 150 artists found solace and inspiration within its walls. Notable names like Michael Andrews, Ralph Brown, and Elizabeth Fritsch began their illustrious careers here. The Trust also garnered support from distinguished personalities like Henry Moore and Roland Penrose, who played pivotal roles in its growth and development.

However, the journey wasn’t always smooth. Financial constraints in the early 1980s led to the sale of Digswell House, which was then transformed into separate apartments. But the Trust’s spirit remained undeterred. It found a new home in Attimore Hall Barn, a restored 17th-century building, which served as its base until 2006. The Trust’s commitment to supporting artists continued to grow with the addition of studio spaces in Fairlands Valley Farmhouse and, later, in Fenners Building, Letchworth and The Forge in Digswell.

A Modern-Day Impact

Today, the Digswell Arts Trust stands as a testament to the enduring spirit of creativity. It has been involved in various exhibitions and events, such as the “Time, Traces & Transformations Exhibition” and the “Naive Confidence II – In Celebration of Trees” Exhibition. The Trust also played a commendable role in supporting victims of the war in Ukraine with an exhibition titled “A Corner of the Field of Mars”, where all proceeds were directed to the British Red Cross Ukraine Crisis Appeal.

Furthermore, the Trust’s commitment to the arts is evident in its support for emerging talents. For instance, Jane Bottery, an artist known for her minimalist works that capture the essence of places and memories, is a distinguished fellow at Digswell Arts. Her works have been showcased at prestigious events like the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition.

Digswell Arts

A Statement from Anton Psak, Trustee of Digswell Arts Trust

“As someone who began my journey with the Digswell Arts Trust as a fellow and later had the privilege of becoming a trustee, I can personally attest to the profound impact this institution has had on my life and the lives of countless artists. The Trust is not just a space; it’s a community, a family that nurtures creativity, fosters collaboration, and champions artistic expression.

Over the years, I’ve witnessed the transformative power of the Digswell Arts Trust, not just for the artists it supports but also for the broader local community. The Trust has been instrumental in bridging the gap between artists and the community, facilitating dialogues, and creating platforms for shared experiences. Through exhibitions, workshops, and community events, the Trust has made art accessible, relatable, and integral to the cultural fabric of Hertfordshire.

The ripple effect of the Trust’s initiatives is palpable. Local businesses have prospered, schools have benefited from art education programs, and residents have been introduced to diverse artistic perspectives. The Trust has not only cultivated artists but has also played a pivotal role in shaping an informed and appreciative audience.

In my time as both a fellow and trustee, I’ve come to deeply appreciate the vision and mission of the Digswell Arts Trust. It stands as a beacon of hope, inspiration, and resilience. I am immensely proud to be associated with an institution that has, and continues to, enrich the community in myriad ways.”

The Digswell Arts Trust is more than just an institution; it’s a legacy. From its historical roots to its modern-day impact, the Trust has been a cornerstone for artists, providing them with the resources, support, and platform they need to shine. As it continues to evolve and adapt to the changing times, one thing remains constant: its unwavering commitment to the arts.


Jonathan Keiler

Jonathan Keiler is a seasoned blogger and independent journalist with a deep-rooted passion for the military, open science, information technology, scholarly communication, e-Science, intellectual property, and the arts. Known for his insightful analysis and impactful reporting, Jonathan stands out for his ability to bridge complex technical subjects with the broader cultural landscape. His keen interest in art not only enriches his understanding of technology and science but also brings a unique aesthetic perspective to his work, making him a distinctive voice in his fields of expertise.