Arts centre opens in Bristol’s historic former Assizes building

June 21, 2013

Bristol’s historic Guildhall and Assize Courts building in Broad Street has been given a new lease of life and reopens tomorrow as a new arts centre ahead of being transformed into a luxury hotel next year.

The Grade ll listed building, most recently used as a magistrates’ court, was bought last year by Bath-based property developer The Trevor Osborne Group, which plans a major regeneration to turn it into Bristol city centre’s first five-star hotel.

But while work takes place The Trevor Osborne Property Group has given the building, built in the 1840s, over to Bath-based Art Ventures to turn it into the Bristol Guildhall Arts Centre.

Now the courtrooms, meeting rooms, miles of corridors and even the cells are being transformed into art spaces.

A programme of events and exhibitions has been assembled, including several novel painting and photographic competitions with significant prizes. With up to 40,000 sq ft to fill, Art Ventures intends to make the most of the remarkable opportunity and plans to open areas of the building phase by phase for various media and competitions.

Mike Porter of Art Ventures said: “The centre will be home to exhibitions of painting and photography. It will provide studios for painters with spaces for workshops, lectures and theatrical events. Artists will have the chance to present their work in the heart of Bristol for everyone in the city to view the work in an unusual and remarkable building.”

The first phase opens to the public tomorrow with: INSPIRED! an opening exhibition of painting and sculpture, which will launch in Gallery One. The show will then run though to December 20, with regular changes of work.

A private party this evening is staged in association with The Prince’s Trust and Wallace and Gromit’s Children’s hospital appeal.



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