Spring start for new Northampton arts facility

Work is set to start on building the new home for NN Contemporary Art – an Arts Council England National Portfolio Organisation Contemporary Art Space – at 24 Guildhall Road this spring, alongside development plans for the rest of the building to be transformed into a new digital arts and educational facility for the town.

The facility at the former county council building at 24 Guildhall Road will include a new contemporary art gallery in the basement, artist studios, a reading room / arts library and a small serving bar on the ground floor, and further studios, offices, a multimedia recording room, project space and education space on the first floor, along with an enhanced entrance off Guildhall Road and accessibility improvements throughout the building.

Local Architects PHP and International Artists Studio Morrison have formed a unique Architect – Artist team to lead on the design work of these spaces, which will comprise the new facilities of NN Contemporary Art.

Emer Grant, CEO and Artistic Director of NN Contemporary Art, said: “NN Contemporary Art is delighted to be embarking on such an exciting programme of change, which came about as a result of us becoming anchor tenants at 24 Guildhall Road.
“Through a unique and successful partnership with the Borough Council, we have been able to envision and drive the development of this previously unoccupied historic Northampton site into something that will be truly inspirational for the town.
“Through this, and other regeneration projects, the Cultural Quarter will flourish and Northampton’s cultural offer will be given further opportunity to shine. After a difficult year for culture, it’s essential we build new spaces and unlock resources, so that communities can thrive and sustain creatively.”

The South East Midlands Local Enterprise Partnership (SEMLEP) board has also agreed the project’s scope, after it confirmed a £1.15 million contribution from the Government’s Get Building Fund last year.

Following a tendering process, a contractor is due to be appointed at the end of April, with works expected to be complete by December 2021, ready for opening in April 2022.