The Local Growth Fund is playing a pivotal part in the development of Warwick Arts Centre, the highly-regarded Midlands venue with a strong national reputation.
The Fund’s support for the Warwick 20:20 Project is a bold, timely and exciting investment in the arts at the centre of the University of Warwick campus in Coventry and Warwickshire which will be unveiled during Coventry’s year as UK City of Culture for 2021.
The Warwick 20:20 Capital Project involves the removal of the existing gallery and cinema and replacement with a large ground floor exhibition space/gallery, three high-quality digital auditoria, with 250, 180 and 60 seats, a new restaurant and extended foyers.
There are plans to develop digital exhibitions, install facilities to broadcast live significant cultural and sporting events, and to be a hub for digital research and design, contemporary visual arts, cultural tourism and business training as well as creating networking and conferencing suites.
The Government’s Local Growth Fund through the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership (CWLEP) is providing £2 million towards the work to re-develop this cultural and creative centre.
The Warwick 20:20 Project has now commenced and includes demolishing redundant structures, ground preparation, foundations and preparing existing structure connections.
The Warwick 20:20 Project will sustain over 30 full-time and potentially 20 part-time jobs, while five apprenticeships will be created. It will also assist up to 35 small businesses through engagement and commercial relationships with Warwick Arts Centre.
Helen Peters, board director at the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership (CWLEP) leading on culture and tourism, said the £2 million commitment from the Local Growth Fund was an important element of the overall £26.4 million revamp.
She said: “Warwick Arts Centre remains an extremely popular venue and with Coventry being voted UK City of Culture in 2021, it will be an important location as we welcome visitors from throughout the UK and across the world. As well as creating and safeguarding full and part-time jobs and creating apprenticeships, business is very central to this project.
“The Mead Gallery, cinema and bookshop were constructed in 1986 and this investment from the Local Growth Fund will provide a number of business opportunities to grow other aspects of Warwick Arts Centre.
“In the future there will be commercial and learning spaces, assistance for SMEs and skills training, and it will lead to investment from the private sector so there are plenty of new opportunities to explore.”
Professor Stuart Croft, Vice Chancellor of the University of Warwick said: “Tens of thousands of people from across Coventry, Warwickshire and beyond value Warwick Arts Centre as a key part of their cultural and social life.
“We are delighted that the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership is supporting the work underway to ensure that tens of thousands more people will have even greater experiences in the future, and also to enable Warwick Arts Centre to draw even more people from across the UK to Coventry and Warwickshire.”
Arts Council England is also investing £4.2 million in the 20:20 project as part of its Large Capital Fund, and Warwick Arts Centre will remain open for a wide range of events and entertainment throughout the redevelopment programme.