Work begins on £1.8m arts centre transformation in Barking

A long view of the centre's redesign. Picture: Studio 3 Arts

Building work has started at Studio 3 Arts' home in Boundary Road, Barking. - Credit: Studio 3 Arts

A project aimed at transforming an arts centre's home into a "world class" venue has begun.

Building work has started on the £1.8million scheme revamping Studio 3 Arts’ home at Galleon Community Centre in Boundary Road, Barking.

Liza Vallance said she felt proud Studio 3 Arts played a part in making change happen.

Liza Vallance is founder and chief exec of Studio 3 Arts in Barking. - Credit: Saira Awan/SAI Photography

Liza Vallance, artistic director and chief executive at Studio 3 Arts, said: "This project really is the culmination of the hopes and ambitions of so many people who love community creativity.

"This is the world-class arts centre that people in Barking and Dagenham deserve.

"I can’t wait to welcome you into the new gaff at the end of the year - we’re opening with a big old party!"

How the centre looks now. Picture: Studio 3 Arts

How the centre's home, which was built in the 1970s, looks now. - Credit: Studio 3 Arts

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More than 800 people from the borough have had their say so far about the new venue, from the building’s layout to the colour of the bathroom tiles.

The centre, which has been designed by architects Citizen Design Bureau and built by GPF Lewis, is due to open this winter.

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Studio 3 Arts expects its new-look venue to revolutionise how communities, artists and individuals work together.

Before then, people are being offered an opportunity to help build a studio extension by laying its straw bales.

Led by architectural practice Straw Works, building with straw is reported to be a low-carbon and sustainable alternative to bricks and mortar.

A group of young people will be pitching in, carrying out roles via the government’s kickstart scheme, which provides funding to create jobs for 16- to 24-year-olds on universal credit.

Volunteers can also get involved by helping transform the centre's garden.

More public consultations will take place online and in person, with the aim of giving everyone a say about what they want from the venue. 

Views are sought on everything from cultural programming, options for classes and activities, to the food and drink menu.

Once built, the 662sqm site will feature a rehearsal, dance and fitness studio which would be suitable for children's parties.

A gallery with garden access, a recording suite, a café, a redeveloped theatre seating 115 people, dressing rooms and fully accessible toilet are to be included too.

The project’s main funders are Arts Council England, GLA Good Growth Fund and Veolia Trust.

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