Plans for major new art facility
Published Tuesday 2nd March 2010
Ipswich Borough Council and Suffolk New College are exploring plans to create a new art facility at the former Art School in High Street. Owned by the College, the building currently stands empty.
Support for the project has also come from artist Maggi Hambling, who studied at the Ipswich Art School. Maggi was born in Suffolk and her work can be seen at the National Gallery, the Tate and the National Portrait Gallery as well as other leading galleries around the world. She is also famous for creating "The Scallop" on Aldeburgh beach.
The new art gallery and museum could also be used as an educational resource for schools and for further education and degree students at the College and University Campus Suffolk.
A major fund-raising campaign to purchase the building will be established and it is hoped to win support from local businesses and community leaders.
The Borough Council also intends to bid for Heritage Lottery funding for a multi-million refurbishment of the proposed cultural hub in High Street, bringing together the new facility, Ipswich Museum and the New Wolsey Studio.
Councillor Judy Terry, Arts, Culture & Leisure portfolio-holder, said this could be an iconic facility for the town. "Ipswich Art School was famous in its day, with alumni like Maggi Hambling and Brian Eno, and it is fitting that it should be re-born as a major contemporary art gallery and museum. We are very grateful to Suffolk New College for their support. Of course, there is much work to be done and we want the project to capture the public imagination. This would be a national attraction and of huge importance to developing Ipswich as a cultural centre."
Maggi Hambling said the North Sea of the Suffolk coast was the subject of her work. "My beginnings were at Ipswich Art School. Its restoration as a place of vision would re-focus attention on to the vital richness of this place and its continuing inspiration for artists."
The proposals will be debated at a meeting of the Council's ruling Executive next week and if approved will be discussed at further meetings with Suffolk New College.
It is hoped the art gallery/museum could open later this year.