The studios originated in the 1980s among locally based artists who recognised the need for a base or centre of the arts for studio and exhibition space. Mayo County Council and Westport Town Council became involved by making available the old custom house at the Quay as a site for the project. The old custom house building has been carefully restored, conserving its historical architectural features. It now has seven studios, a printmaking workshop and a gallery space.
The Custom House Studios & Gallery ensures artists and their work are integrated into the local community and are given real tangible supports to continue and develop. This has the potential to provide an added cultural benefit for the local community, as well as contributing to an enriched mix of tourism products for the town.