Public Consultation Briefing: A new Arts and Cultural Hub for Wrexham
Why is this a good idea for Wrexham?
Wrexham is the largest town in North Wales, but at present the town centre suffers from a weakened retail sector and empty streets in the evening. A new master plan is being developed, which will promote town centre living and the arts and culture as a way to help revitalise the town centre.
Wrexham already has a strong visual arts background and strong music scene. There is a “buzz” about the emerging art sector – but the current gallery, Oriel Wrecsam, is no longer fit for purpose and is too small to house higher visitor numbers.
Wrexham Council believes that a new, more ambitious Arts and Cultural Hub could draw footfall into the town centre and be popular with local residents. People already travel for many miles to our shops, and the new Arts and Cultural Hub could help to encourage more people to visit Wrexham and stay here longer, as well as market Wrexham as a new destination for artists and art lovers. In the long run, more people in the town centre will help to stimulate Wrexham’s evening economy, to attract more investors and to revitalise our town centre.
To achieve this, we need to make a big and bold statement – one that will change perceptions and create the exciting attraction that Wrexham deserves!
Proposal: A new Arts and Cultural Hub in the People’s Market
In the run up to this public consultation, five buildings in the town centre were identified as potential venues for the new Arts and Cultural Hub. All were scored against a set of criteria including space, location, uniqueness, costs and income generation to help identify the best solution.
Based on this assessment, locating the Arts and Cultural Hub inside the People’s Market alongside the existing market emerged as the best option.
Bringing the Arts and Cultural Hub into the People’s Market is an opportunity for Wrexham to maximise the development potential of this site for the benefit of the local businesses and arts scene. It will help to revitalise the market and strengthen its role as a popular market in the town centre by diversifying its offer and attracting more and higher spending visitors. At the same time, it will give Wrexham a unique, iconic and talked-about Arts Centre in the heart of town.
The vision for the Arts and Cultural Hub
To turn the current People’s Market into the inviting and exciting Arts and Cultural Hub that Wrexham deserves and needs, we aim to create a venue that can house a diverse programme which offers something for everyone. It could include gallery spaces, occasional performance or cinema spaces, artist production spaces, a learning programme and café, all alongside existing and new market stalls. We want this to become a hub where the local community, market traders, artists, local arts organisations, visitors, students and school classes can interact and enjoy great art together!
To achieve this, changes will need to be made to the existing building. Architects AshSakula have developed some first ideas and sketches for this exciting vision for the future, including:
- A re-decorated exterior will signal that something new is happening here and show the People’s Market as an inviting place to be. A re-clad tower displaying current art work with trees on the roof will turn it into a unique landmark. Entrances will be opened up, windows repainted and the ground floor façade will showcase displays and green walls.
- The ground floor will house a flexible art hub with gallery space, learning and education spaces and offices alongside market stalls, artisan food stalls and a new café. The café could open up onto an outdoor terrace at the back of the People’s Market.
- The outdoor parking level will be a new summer venue with fantastic views across Wrexham, with artist’s studios and pop-up attractions such as a café bar, open-air cinema, garden area, occasional concerts, performances and art exhibitions.
How will the Arts and Cultural Hub be financed in the long run?
A business plan is currently being prepared for the Arts and Cultural Hub, to determine in more detail its feasibility in the long run.
The proposal of bringing the Arts and Cultural Hub into the People’s Market opens up potential to fund the Arts and Cultural Hub through income from ticket sales, car parking, retail and café income, in addition to support from Wrexham Council and Arts Council Wales. The latter are strongly involved in this project, and see Wrexham as strategically important.
Please share your thoughts with us!
It is really important for us to get your views on the new Arts and Cultural Hub so that we can go ahead and create something that Wrexham is proud of.
Please contact Oriel Wrecsam, 11, Chester Street, Wrexham. LL13 8BE firstname.lastname@example.org