Construction work has begun at Portsmouth’s premier contemporary art gallery, in its historic waterfront building at Gunwharf Quays.
Earlier this year Aspex was awarded £158,504 from Arts Council England’s National Lottery- funded small capital grants programme. The gallery has also received further support from the Foyle Foundation for the project – enabling a significant shift in the buildings layout to improve its facilities for both visitors and artists.
Aspex has occupied the Vulcan Building for almost ten years, and commissioned architects Manalo & White to come up with innovative solutions to improve its building in order to engage its audience.
The building work, led by Hampshire based contractor Building IS has already begun to transform Aspex’s former participation space into a new artist’s studio.
Improvements are also being made to the building’s environmental sustainability and Aspex’s digital capabilities will be upgraded.
This work will also see the relocation of the café servery, and the continuation of the relationship between the gallery and award-winning social enterprise Lily & Lime LD. To enable this work, the café will closed from Monday 25 April for four weeks.
The gallery will remain open throughout the build, providing its visitors with access to its exhibitions, shop and a full range of participatory workshops for toddlers through to those with Dementia.
The major renovation will provide Aspex with a series of renewed spaces, aiming to increase the number of people who are able to get involved in the arts.
The building work will be completed in June when the gallery will launch a series of new activities, including welcoming its first artist-in-residence in its new studio space, and will start ‘Family Saturdays’, a free weekly drop-in event to encourage children, parents and grandparents to get creative.