We had a tour of the Bluecoat yesterday. It re-opens on Saturday March 15 at 10.00 when everyone is invited to cut the ribbon which will be wrapped around the whole building.
I was going to say its great to have the old place back again but its so radically different now it seems like a completely new purpose-built arts centre, its brilliant.
The architects Biq have done a fantastic job of merging old and new, the architecture is interesting but so are the design features like the huge lighting suspended over the bar in the restaurant area which should entice people looking over from Church Street on a dark evening to come inside.
The natural light too, is far better than before, especially streaming into the main gallery.
The old curved gallery space is now the ‘Hub’ where people can meet up, enjoy a coffee and snack and pick up information not just about the Bluecoat but other cultural events. Could be a really useful resource for creatives right in the centre of town.
The opening exhibition, ‘Now Then‘ covers all the 4 galleries with Alec Finlay’s bird boxes also placed in the trees in the garden (which, by the way, now seems a lot bigger, though it isn’t, its just overly neat until new plants grow back) and featuring a video by Janet Hodgson, a massive wall painting by Paul Morrison another large work by Hew Locke and participatory installations by Yoko Ono.
I recorded interviews with both Alec Finlay and Hew Locke so you should be able to listen to them on the DefnetMedia podcast site next week.
There’s a lot of events this weekend, many of them are free. See the Bluecoat website for full details.