Most of these 16 projects focus on the refurbishment or extension of existing arts buildings and range from upgrades of spaces to large scale renovations. The successful applicants have now been invited to complete a stage two application within the next 18 months, showing plans at a detailed stage of design and development.
They include Plymouth’s City Museum and Art Gallery, which is applying for a £4.2m grant to transform its land and that of the Central Library, St Luke’s Church and the University’s Peninsula Arts Gallery, into a modern cultural centre, with Plymouth’s own ‘Turbine Hall’ and public square, to provide world-class spaces for contemporary artists to present new perspectives on Plymouth’s collections and history.
Derby Museums Trust will apply for £2.5m for plans to transform the Silk Mill, the world’s first factory site, into a creative and inspirational 21st Century space. Kitting it out with the technology and tools needed to build people’s skills, confidence and creative talent. Inspired by Derby’s industrial heritage, this new Museum of Making will empower the creators and makers of tomorrow.
The Story Museum in Oxford will apply for a £2m grant to transform its premises from an interim state into a building that is fit for purpose. The work includes the creation of a 140-seater performance space, a learning space and resource room, external walkways and an immersive ‘Enchanted Library’. The development will significantly improve the visitor experience and dramatically increase the range of activities The Story Museum can offer.
And Tunbridge Wells Museum and Art Gallery will apply for a grant of £937,750 for its Artscore project, which will create dedicated arts spaces for all users of Tunbridge Wells Borough’s new Cultural & Learning Hub. It will ensure that the arts remain at the heart of this wider development, ensuring the Hub fully integrates the museum, the library, art and learning.
The capital programme supports organisations to improve existing buildings to make them more economically and environmentally sustainable and gives organisations the right buildings and equipment to support their work.
Projects will then be assessed on long-term sustainability and resilience, the potential for partnership funding, and ability to manage and deliver the work proposed. Funding of £57 million will be available should they be successful at this stage.
“This programme is about backing a wide range of really exciting proposals to allow our arts and cultural organisations to thrive, for the benefit of artists and audiences across the country,” said Darren Henley, Chief Executive, Arts Council England. “We look forward to seeing the second stages of these applications so that we can help to get these projects off the ground, to help enhance the arts and cultural infrastructure around the country.”
ACE plans to run one further capital round for large grants during the 2015-2018 period with a budget of £43 million and this is most likely to be launched in the second quarter of 2016/17.
Derby Silk Mill is among four museums that have made it through to the second round of ACE’s large capital grants programme. Photograph Derby Museums Trust