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Plans to be discussed for building of new national arts centre


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Plans for a “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity” to create a joint arts and culture facility of national and international standing will be discussed by councillors next week.

A national Collections Centre could be created through a unique partnership between Coventry City Council, Arts Council England’s Arts Council Collection, Culture Coventry Trust and Coventry University, in collaboration with the Coventry City of Culture Trust.

If approved, the multi-million-pound project would become home to some of the country’s greatest works of art and provide greater public access to Coventry’s own cultural and heritage collections.

Councillor David Welsh, Coventry City Council’s Cabinet Member for Housing and Communities which covers culture and the arts, said: “This exciting and amazing proposal is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to create something Coventry people can be rightly proud of as well as a national and international centre of excellence that will be a lasting legacy from our year as UK City of Culture.”

The landmark project would see Arts Council England relocate the Arts Council Collection from two current collection stores to Coventry, if the former IKEA building is redeveloped. The site would become a busy new hub for art which will service the rest of the country with exhibition loans.

Councillors at Coventry City Council’s Cabinet and Full Council will vote on the plans next week, to buy and convert the former IKEA building. Costs would look to be recouped through capital grants and the rents received from the project partners over the length of their leases.

The Arts Council Collection has reached capacity across its two current collections stores. The proposed new Collections Centre offers Arts Council Collection a new modern, fit for purpose facility that consolidates the two stores and the collection’s operations.

Coventry University has been a critical partner in developing the project this far and is keen to further explore the opportunities the Centre could bring to students and the community.

Professor John Latham CBE, Coventry University Vice-Chancellor, said: “We will continue to work with all the partners involved to ensure we maximise this opportunity and develop the centre into something that brings tangible educational, cultural and economic benefits to the city.”

All parties have expressed their commitment to creating a lasting legacy from City of Culture 2021 and will be working with the Coventry City of Culture Trust and broader city and regional partners to develop this unique, landmark facility in the heart of Coventry city centre.  

David Burbidge, Chair of the Coventry City of Culture Trust said: “Since our journey to becoming UK City of Culture began in 2015, we knew that a lasting legacy was essential for long-term change in Coventry.

“Bringing national collections, with international significance, to Coventry will help to cement the city as a hugely important part of the UK’s cultural profile.”


Written by: David Watkins

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