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The New Art Exchange, Nottingham, United Kingdom

Thursday 30 Aug 2012

A stage for the local community

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Award Entry

New arts centre regenerates the Hyson Green area of Nottingham 

The New Art Exchange is the UK's first regional inner city art's centre devoted solely to the promotion of African, African Caribbean and Asian Arts. The design clearly and rationally expresses the piling up of the different functions of the building with its asymmetric pattern of windows, which showcase each activity separately. It provides a stage for the local community to participate in learning, culture sharing and having fun as well as connecting with national and international arts programmes.

The New Art Exchange was an existing arts group that had developed in the Hyson Green area of Nottingham in the 1970's and 1980's. This part of Nottingham was very run down and burnt out, suffering considerably from problems of teenage street prostitution, knife and gun crime and drug dealing.

After much consultation with the arts group and the wider community the building opened in September 2008 providing gallery space, performance space, educational spaces, offices and a large community café. Funded by both Arts Council England and Nottingham City Council, its biggest success has come from its ground - breaking commissions with international artists, as well as bringing strong Contemporary art to the local community.

Highlights of its programme:

1) Over 150,000 people experienced work commissioned and produced by New Art Exchange. 2) Over 300 artists took part in exhibitions, events and activities produced by New Art Exchange. 3) A strong programme of NAE curated exhibitions including ‘An (other) Story', ‘Strength of Feeling' by Sokari Douglas-Camp and ‘Next We Change Earth' which have gone on tour to Finland, Sweden and Denmark. 4) New Art Exchange commissions from internationally acclaimed artists including Keith Piper, Samson Kambalu and Zineb Sedira. 5) Supporting local Nottingham artists. 6) Won numerous national and regional design awards (RIBA and Civic Trust). 7) Co-produced the Mela 21 festival, which included attendance from the Australian an Indian cricket teams and featured in the international news. 8) A strong education and events programme, working with regional educational and community groups and culminating in the launch of the new Central Gallery. 9) Making Nottingham part of a European art world - with cutting edge exhibitions that have gained international recognition and presence. 10) The building is one of the first gallery's to be naturally ventilated and maximises on daylight penetration. In the post occupancy evaluation there is evidence to prove that the building performs well in terms of energy consumption comparing outstandingly well to good practice benchmarks. 11) Hosting Himmah Eid Festival 2012. 12) Culturebox Dance Exchange Project - the learning and sharing of traditional/folk dances from all over the world.

" The New Art Exchange is a special portal for inspiration, transforming the landscape, vision and ambition within and beyond the area in which it resides. The structure, design and shining spaces offer flexible use for all to enjoy. It is a building you want to engage with, providing and encouraging new and existing interactions between all communities, with an energy that is bright and encapsulating." Skinder Hundell, Chief Executive NAE.

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Hawkins Brown

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