Work to transform a former school building in Inverness into a multi-million pound creative hub gets underway early in the New Year.
The Midmills buildings, once part of the Inverness Royal Academy and later Inverness College, will become the new Inverness Creative Academy in a £5.7million project.
In the first phase, one of the buildings will be converted to house high quality, affordable workspaces for 39 artists and makers. It is expected to be complete by the summer of 2018.
Wasps Artists Studios, which is leading the project, is also fundraising for work on a second building which would provide exhibition, performance and events space, a public cafe, workshop areas and offices for business working in the creative industries.
Matt Sillars, who will be running a community-based photographic initiative called the Inverness Darkroom at Midmills, said: “The arts community has been hoping that Wasps would set up a major centre in Inverness for years, so the enthusiasm was overwhelming when it was announced.”
Kirsten Body, a member of the local arts steering group, said: “I was involved in the initial demand study for a creative hub in 2015 and was struck by the responses we got – there is a desire to feel part of a wider creative community and for the possibility of more collaboration with other creative professionals.
“There is undoubtedly a strong need for a focused, vibrant space where people can come together to share ideas.
“I’m really keen to see this new hub as a place that caters for events, provides networking opportunities as well as a gallery space for emergent contemporary artists to showcase their work and take risks.”