Eye: The Bank arts centre gets its grand opening

Ian (L to R) Donna-Marie Harvey, Christopher Parr and Rebecca Lyne outside the new arts centre in Ey

Ian (L to R) Donna-Marie Harvey, Christopher Parr and Rebecca Lyne outside the new arts centre in Eye - Credit: Archant

THE opening night of a new arts centre in a north Suffolk town proved a success as 65 guests enjoyed live music and a chance to view art exhibits.

The new Bank community arts centre opened in the former HSBC bank building in Castle Street, Eye and attracted visitors from as far afield as Norwich and Cambridge who listened to music by Brooke Sharkey and her Band and viewed displays.

The centre has facilities for art exhibitions and workshops providing classes on various art forms, while in the downstairs vault there will be a community internet radio station and recording studio for use by local bands and recording artists.

The not-for-profit organisation Eyes Open Community Interest Company has created the venue, which also boasts a cafe.

Ian Harvey, one of the volunteers running the Bank, said: “The opening night went extremely well. We had our first music event in the evening and there were lots more that wanted tickets, but we felt that number would be comfortable for everyone and made the evening that much better rather than having to squeeze everyone in.”

There are also some digital installations at the centre and short art films, including footage from the East Anglian Film Archive, a photographic exhibition on Malta, embroidery, paintings and bronze and glass sculptures.

The building has been empty for five years since the former HSBC branch closed down and there is a three year lease on the building as a community facility.

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The Bank is run by art lovers Mr Harvey and his partner Donna-Marie, along with Rebecca Lyne and Christopher Parr.

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

Planning permission to convert the former bank into the community arts centre was approved recently.

More than 20 volunteers had been at work preparing the venue for its grand opening.

Acoustic blue duo Dove & Boweevil will be performing at The Bank on Saturday May 18.

Doors open at 7.15pm with the concert beginning at 8pm. For more information on the duo go to www.doveandboweevil.co.uk and for The Bank go to www.thebankeye.co.uk

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