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Final piece of Kendal College’s creative arts complex now in place

Kendal College’s creative arts complex
Kendal College’s creative arts complex

[T]he final jigsaw piece of Kendal College’s Creative Arts complex is now in place, which marks the end of a project that’s been more than six years in the making.

The new state-of-the-art Wildman Street Studios house a large ground floor performance space with an atrium the full height of the building to offer new and exciting production opportunities.

It has been specifically designed as a creative space and has three specialist art and design workshops. Outside, a fully landscaped courtyard space with seating and power will enable outdoor performances.

The construction of the Wildman Street Studios alone cost £2.9m but it ties in with a further £1m revamp of the existing Allen Building, where students can now benefit from a revamped sound recording studio, a fourth music rehearsal room, new workshops for the creation of art & design works and theatrical props & scenery, and a café.

Matt Burke, Head of School for The Arts, Media and Heritage at Kendal College, said: “The culmination of these improvements has completed the new look Arts and Media Campus. We can now offer the full package – a creative hub at the northern end of town with all of our ‘arts’ students on one campus – as well as having dedicated support spaces for the College and for external events.

“To be honest, I’m blown away by it as it far exceeds the expectation of a ‘normal’ college building. It’s been designed specifically with professional working practices in mind and, for a small college, there’s no doubt we’re punching well above our weight in terms of creating innovative education and training spaces.”

The Wildman Street Studios will not just benefit the College and its students; it will also bring a new facility to Kendal and the South Lakes. Alongside The Box (the College’s other purpose-built performance venue), the Studios will be available for the College’s many partners in the creative sector to use; from community and education groups to employers and event organisers.

“Kendal College is already at the forefront of national developments in Arts & Media education,” continues Matt. “And Wildman Street Studios will add another string to our bow. We can put a lot of our success down to the enormous support we get from the South Lakes creative community so it’s great for us to be able to give something back to them with this new building.”

In addition to the Studios, a new gallery space – The Wildman Gallery – has also opened and will host our Art & Design Open Studio Exhibition from Thursday the 15th of June to Thursday the 29th of June, 12 – 5pm, Monday – Thursday.  Built specifically as a gallery space, The Wildman Gallery has 30 linear metres of hanging space, which will showcase the work of our Foundation Art & Design, Foundation Photography, level 3 Extended Diploma Art & Design and Level 2 Diploma Art & Design students.

Next door to the Gallery is the College’s Apprentice Academy for the Culinary Arts, housed in the 700 year old Castle Dairy.  The Gallery is connected to The Castle Dairy by a doorway discovered during the refurbishment process, after the restaurant was damaged by storm Desmond in 2015. This allows guests dining at The Castle Dairy to take advantage of the new gallery space for receptions, speeches, cookery demonstrations and trade shows.

Graham Wilkinson, College Principal, said “Our ambition is to develop a creative hub by opening up the Museum and Wildman Street car parks to the Arts fraternity, giving them the opportunity to showcase and sell their work on a regular basis.  Overall the space will make a fabulous area for culinary and arts based festivals and events.”

The College can now be really proud of itself as work on what was a brown field site is complete and footfall to this northern end of Kendal can become another Arts and Culinary venue for its community.

For more information on Kendal College’s range of full and part-time creative courses, visit http://www.kendal.ac.uk or call 01539 814700.

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