Local artists and creatives are being offered the chance to get an early preview of the five refurbished spaces which are about to open as part of the £4.5 million project, The Arches – Worcester.
Open days will be held on February 9 and 14 at the newly fitted-out Victorian railway arches between The Hive and Netherton Court.
Four of the five refurbished arches are to be let to artists and creative businesses, with two of them expected to be used as shared spaces. The fifth arch will be used as a performance space.
Worcester City Council has appointed the team behind The Kiln – the managed workspace in Copenhagen Street that offers office, meetings, hot desking and events space to small businesses and freelancers – to manage and let the refurbished arches.
Hamish Gill, Co-Founder of the Kiln, said: “We are keen to attract all types of creatives and artists to use the exciting new spaces that have been created at The Arches – Worcester.
“We don’t want to pigeon-hole what the shared spaces should be used for, so we’re open to hearing from a broad variety of people and anyone who calls themselves an artist – whether that’s a painter, a designer, a make-up artist, a tattoo artist or anyone else in the creative industries.
“There’s a strong community of artists in Worcester and these open days will be a chance for them to come and see these sympathetically refurbished arches, to tell us what their needs are and what facilities they would like to see.”
The open days at the new arches will run from 9.30am to 4.30pm on Wednesday February 9 and Monday February 14.
The Arches – Worcester project aims to create a new cultural destination for the city, and a new route connecting Foregate Street Station to The Hive and the riverside.
It has been made possible thanks to £3 million funding from the Government’s Cultural Development Fund (CDF). Under the terms of the CDF investment, the refurbished Arches must be let for creative and artistic purposes only.
The four refurbished arches that are set to be let to artists and creatives all have a kitchenette, disabled toilet, and spaces for displays. Accessibility was designed in from the start, with all front doors being automated and a level threshold at the entrance.
The refurbishment has been carried out by Worcestershire-based construction firm, Speller Metcalfe, whose work has retained a sympathy with the history of the site.
Matthew Bailey, Small Works manager at Speller Metcalfe said: “Speller Metcalfe is delighted to have been a part of such a historically significant project that will benefit a variety of communities in Worcester. It is fantastic to see the potential of this space being realised with the upcoming open days, and we hope the revitalisation of The Arches – Worcester will be put to good use for many years to come.”