Greenham Common Trust is funding two exciting new arts ventures in partnership with the Corn Exchange, Newbury

Greenham Common Trust is to fund new £1.7m arts centre for Greenham Business Park.  Additional town-based Learning Centre will provide wider participation in the arts for local residents and community groups.

Artist's impression of the new venue on Greenham Business ParkA new £1.7m visual arts gallery, makers’ studios and café facility will open in spring 2018, and replace the ageing, prefabricated New Greenham Arts building on Greenham Business Park, the Trust's principal asset. Located by the entrance of the business park, the new arts facility will become a central hub, providing a home to some of the finest artists and makers in the country.

The purpose-built visual arts and craft complex will allow Greenham Common Trust and the Corn Exchange to establish an exciting new destination venue for the district, attracting huge numbers of visitors to the area.

In addition to this new state-of-the-art facility, the Corn Exchange will also launch a dedicated Learning Centre for its participatory arts programme in the centre of Newbury. This will increase the range of arts activities for the local community and its central location will provide easier access for residents and those taking part.

The Corn Exchange in NewburyThe Learning Centre will be launched in September 2017 with an extended programme of cultural and creative activities enabling the Corn Exchange to work with over 18,000 people every year. The programme will include new activities for under 5s, as well as a home-base for the venue’s Ageing Creatively programme for people aged 55 and over.

“We’re delighted to be able to offer financial support for these exciting new projects which will benefit those living in Newbury and the wider community,” commented Chris Boulton, chief executive for Greenham Common Trust. He continued: “The town centre development will allow the Corn Exchange to seek significant national funding in order to support the increased activities provided by the venue. This is good news for residents, artists, community groups and for local businesses as we attract more visitors to our town. It will put Newbury firmly on the map as one of the UK’s leading visitor attractions for the arts.”

Grant Brisland and Katy Griffiths, co-directors of the Corn Exchange Newbury, said: “The makers’ studios will support nine visual artists and craft makers from a range of disciplines. It will create an ethos of open working, engaging visitors in the art making process as well as providing regular pop-up exhibitions, courses and classes. This is a hugely exciting opportunity and Greenham Common Trust’s support and vision for this development will secure the future of visual arts and crafts locally.”

The Gallery at New Greenham ArtsCommenting on the closure of New Greenham Arts, they remarked: “These exciting developments are tinged with sadness, as New Greenham Arts has played a hugely important part in the Corn Exchange’s success over the last 15 years. New Greenham Arts was built over 40 years ago and only ever intended to be a temporary facility. The extent of the repair and renovation that would be required to continue to use it as a professional arts venue would require investment of more than £1 million, which does not represent value for money for either Greenham Common Trust or the Corn Exchange.”

Regular users of New Greenham Arts were informed of the developments last week, with John Brazendale, Chair of Open Studios, commenting: “These are exciting times for the visual arts, the very idea of having a purpose built facility at Greenham Business Park is both forward looking and reassuring at a time when there is so much uncertainty elsewhere. It is wonderful news!”

Commenting on the Learning Centre, John Darvell of Berkshire-based NOCTURN dance said: “I’m thrilled and excited at the dance opportunities the new Learning Centre will bring to our local area. As a rural professional dance company we come across the same challenge - working in fit for purpose, easily accessible, affordable dance spaces. This comes just at right time and will not only support the activities we’ve built with the Corn Exchange but opens up new possibilities too.”

For those artists who are currently resident at New Greenham Arts, the Corn Exchange has committed to helping them form a co-operative to secure their future.

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