On the 28th March 2019, we celebrated the opening of the First Phase of the Inverness Creative Academy project.
We were delighted to welcome all funders, neighbours and supporters of the project into the building to see the incredible transformation of the 1913 former Arts and Science Extension (the building was formerly Inverness Royal Academy) which includes:
- 32 studio spaces for designers, artists and makers.
- A darkroom facility managed by The Inverness Darkroom.
- A large exhibition and events space in the restored gym hall.
A specially commissioned triptych portrait was presented to Helen Carmichael, the Provost of Inverness who formally opened Phase 1.
The painting shows Councillor Helen Carmichael from three slightly different angles and is the work of David Fallow, one of the first artists to take up studio space.
David’s portrait echoes another triptych (artist unknown), which shows civil engineer and one-time Inverness Royal Academy student Joseph Mitchell, and hangs behind the Provost’s desk.
It will join a group of paintings of significant figures from the area’s past, such as Sir Henry Raeburn’s portrait of John Mackintosh, who was Provost at the end of the 18th century and start of the 19th.
Helen Carmichael said: “I was delighted to be invited to open the first phase of Inverness Creative Academy. It is wonderful to see the energy that the artists have brought to a building that has always played an important role in the life of the region.
“I now look forward to delivery of Phase 2 which will complete this wonderful complex for the benefit of creative people across the Highlands, allowing them to stay in the region and practise their art.
“I am also honoured to have had my portrait painted by David Fallow. It will take pride of place in my office in Inverness Town House.”
We were also very pleased to welcome all of our friends, supporters, neighbours and partners into the building and show them how the 1913 Arts and Science Extension had been transformed.
Audrey Carlin, Wasps Chief Executive Officer, said: “The official opening is a proud moment for us and a chance to thank all of the team, partners and supporters who have helped our plan for the first major creative hub in the Highland to become a reality.
“We want this project to play a truly significant role in developing the arts and cultural economy of the Highlands – offering opportunities to creative people of all kinds.
“It seems fitting that we marked the opening by presenting the Provost with a portrait that will become part of the city’s art collection and that has been painted by one of the first artists to take up one of the new studios. “Next comes Phase 2 and we look forward to a close and continued partnership with the council and all the others who have helped us reach this stage.”
Inverness Creative Academy is the first large scale creative arts facility of its kind in the Scottish Highlands.
This project will save the much loved and "at risk" former Inverness Royal Academy buildings in the city centre, providing a sustainable and creative new use and an inspiring public facility.
Phase 1 of the project was completed in November 2018 and the first artists moved into their studios in December 2018.
We are now fundraising for Phase 2 of the project which will provide:
- 54 workspaces for creative industries and cultural social enterprises including long term office space and flexible co working spaces.
- A public cafe within the restored, double height former assembly hall.
- Public exhibition, events and workshop spaces on two levels overlooking the assembly hall.
- Fully accessible meeting rooms and facilities for hire.
Over the coming months, we will be launching a number of fundraising initiatives to help us to realise this exciting project in full. You can find out more at the project website here: www.invernesscreativeacademy.org.uk
Once complete, Inverness Creative Academy will:
- Bring two much loved historic buildings in the city centre back into public use.
- Be accessible to all ages and backgrounds.
- Support around 700 artists/makers and 100 businesses.
- Enable 14,000+ class attendances and 40,000+ casual/leisure visits.
- Enable 109 FTE jobs.
- Retain creative talent in the Highlands and support local graduates to establish sustainable careers.
- Provide vital opportunities for collaborative working, kills sharing and networking.
- Encourage public participation in the arts.
- Contribute to the local economy and a safe, positive, healthy community.
James Gibbs, Area Manager for HIE said: "Wasps is a social enterprise with an excellent track record of bringing economic benefit to cities. This facility will allow workers in the creative industries sector to share skills and ideas and promote collaboration and innovation.
HIE assisted Wasps' development to help grow a strong creative cluster in Inverness and bring new economic activity to the city centre."
This Project has been supported by: