Eye: Arts centre prepares for first act to perform

Organisers are busy working in the old HSBC bank in Eye where a new arts centre is being created

Organisers are busy working in the old HSBC bank in Eye where a new arts centre is being created - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

A GROUP of art lovers are preparing to unveil a new centre which will provide spaces for exhibitions, a recording studio and radio station.

Planning permission to convert the former HSBC bank in Eye into a community arts centre has been approved.

More than 20 volunteers are preparing the venue, called The Bank in Castle Street, to be ready for its grand opening.

One of the organisers, Rebecca Lyne said there was a “fantastic” team behind the project who are from the not-for-profit organisation, Eyes Open Community Interest Company.

She said: “There will be exhibition space, hopefully a really vibrant mix of different types of exhibition, already there’s a broad range of interests. We will have lots of art classes, there will be a recording studio, we are hoping to have a community radio station. There will be a cafe, there’s going to be lots of different things happening all the time.

“As a group we are really passionate about the arts being inclusive and bringing art to people’s doorsteps. You have to travel a long way to see good contemporary art and we are trying to make it more community based and available to all.

“The building has been empty for five years. The building has a three-year lease to buy it for the community. The landlord has done some work in the building to make it suitable for us to which we are most grateful for.

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“We are in there regenerating it as we speak, we are very grateful to all the volunteers who are coming in at weekends. A lot of art is done behind closed doors but we aim to open it up to everyone for whatever they want to do. We have had so much community support for it to be possible. It’s such a prominent building in Eye, we are all so fond of it - we wanted to open it up.”

Eye town mayor Merlin Carr said: “I think we are generally very much looking forward to it starting and working with the people to try and add that extra bit of life to Eye.

“We do have to travel a long way to arts venues in Norwich or Ipswich. Having more options on the doorstep will be good for the town. It’s a different sort of project to the ones that normally open near us. We’ll have to keep our fingers crossed that it works.”

The band of volunteers now have just over three weeks to prepare the art centre for its opening.

On April 27 Brooke Sharkey & Band will perform as part of its grand opening with doors opening at 8pm.

For more information about the event and the project go to www.thebankeye.co.uk

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