OpenHand OpenSpace (OHOS)
OHOS is an artist-led centre based in Reading that fosters excellence in contemporary art and provides affordable studio and exhibition space for artists. Its education and exhibition program is open to all and promotes public access to visual art and artists. Since its foundation in 1980 in a former military keep, Brock Keep, its studios or exhibition spaces have been used by well over 100 artists.
Reading’s Keep is one of the surviving few that have not been demolished or converted. It is grade II listed and is particularly special because of its setting next to its original Army Depot. Built in 1877 as part of Sir Edward Cardwell’s Army reforms, which enhanced the role of local regiments.
Designed at the War Office by architect Major H C Seddon of the Royal Engineers, a number of these Keeps were built in different English counties to act as local landmarks as well as function as gatehouses, armouries and regimental stores. In the early 1980s it was used as a shelter for homeless people. The Keep is now owned by Reading Borough Council and since the 1989 has provided artists' studios and exhibition space.