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Proteus Creation Space is a beacon for the arts
IT IS a beacon for the arts in Basingstoke – and so it was fitting that local MP and Culture Secretary Maria Miller was on hand to take part in the official opening of the Proteus Creation Space.
The venue was officially opened last Friday to cheers from an audience filled with dignitaries from across Hampshire.
The Government’s Culture Secretary and Basingstoke MP declared the building open for business by cutting the ceremonial ribbon with the Mayor of Basingstoke and Deane, Councillor Dan Putty.
Proteus is a long-established theatre company that was previously based at Queen Mary’s College. Alongside touring its own productions, it produces workshops, community projects and collaborates with artists.
Its new base was previously the Fairfields Art Centre. The Grade II-listed building was taken over by Proteus in April and their team has spent the past few months turning it into a creative hub for every kind of artist.
This month will see the Creation Space hosting everything from life drawing classes and trapeze workshop, to art exhibitions.
Speaking at the launch, Mrs Miller said: “We are privileged to live in a county and borough where the impact of creativity has always been understood. We all know what it brings to our lives and it makes the area a fantastic place to live, work, and do business.”
Mrs Miller added that organisations like Proteus, and the launch of the new hub, makes Basingstoke “one of the most creative centres in the country.”
The building consists of five main rooms which are available to rent – the Heylar Room for meetings and music lessons, the Webb Room, known as the ‘messy art room’, is for life drawing, and children’s clubs and The Baldwin Room is for fine art, and life drawing sessions.
The Brining Gallery is the building’s hub and is the Creation Space’s main exhibition room. It is adjoined by a mirrored studio for theatre productions, known as the Addison Studio.
There is also the Aristology café which is open six days a week and itself offers its own events programme. And there are outhouses for resident artists such as current resident ceramic artist Katie Smith.
Mary Swan, artistic director and Proteus chief executive, said she is delighted with the new building.
She told The Gazette: “The Proteus Creation Space is where anyone can come and experience, make, or enjoy art – whether you are a professional or it is the first time you have done something, this is the place to do it.”
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