24 Guildhall Road

Our new site at 24 Guildhall Road presents a new chapter in the evolution of NN Contemporary Art (NNCA) as a visual arts organisation serving Northamptonshire and the wider East Midlands area.

The NNCA relocation project at 24 Guildhall Road was recently successful in achieving 1.56mil as part of the SEMLEP ‘Getting Building Fund’ in partnership with Northampton Borough Council, with works to be completed and public re-opening of NNCA planned for early 2022. Formerly used as offices for Northampton County Council, the building lay vacant for a number of years. Re-imagining an artist-led, regional, contemporary arts institution for current contexts, NNCA will create new spaces within the building for 26 artist studios, a Contemporary Art Gallery, a new Project Space, an Artists Research Lounge, Multimedia Room, Civic Reading Room & Arts Library and shop. These spaces will occupy the basement, ground and lower ground floors of the building, opening up the rest of the building for a future development phase. The new spaces are being designed by the Artist – Architect team Studio Morison & Northamptonshire based PHP Architects with Architect Sean Griffiths acting as Client Advisory. Studio Morison will be creating a year-long public engagement programme throughout the capital renovation works to engage NNCA’s creative communities in the design process. A year-long programme of offsite projects will develop the new spaces collaboratively, through an agenda of action thinking and critical reflection, exploring the neighbourhood and communities that will inhibit NNCA in the future.

The project was identified through a competitive bidding round for SEMLEP Pipeline Projects and will provide a larger more accessible home for NNCA, making the building fit for occupation and public use, creating new exhibition spaces and creative workspaces, improving the visitor entrance, accessibility improvements and new toilets.

The new facilities will be in the town’s Cultural Quarter and expand NN’s creative SME workspace complex. The project aims to transform this spot into an attractive and innovative contemporary public space for industry and culture and will complement wider investments focused on the long-term health and sustainability of the town centre. Essential repairs to the roof and façade of the building will be completed as part of the project.

Emer Grant, CEO of NN Contemporary Art, said: 
“We are delighted to be embarking on this expansion and capital development project in partnership with the borough council to establish a major new cultural destination for the region. A contemporary art space is a driver of progressive, positive change, that contributes to building diverse, sustainable communities. This project will bring exciting benefits to many and is much more than arts development or renovations. This is about recognising the pivotal role of culture in shaping not just new public spaces, but new creative, public futures.”

Cllr Anna King, Borough Council Cabinet member for community engagement and safety, said: “It’s fantastic that we have found a way for this facility to remain in the Cultural Quarter, sitting directly alongside the newly-refurbished and extended Northampton Museum and Art Gallery.”

Hilary Chipping, SEMLEP Chief Executive, said: “Last July we published our Local Industrial Strategy, laying out the priorities and interventions we needed to invest in to realise innovation, further improve connectivity and achieve sustainable growth”.