Inverness Creative Academy, which opened its doors in February 2022, brought a disused school building back to life as the Highlands’ first creative hub.
The project, which took four years, revived the redundant former Inverness Royal Academy buildings on Midmills Road in the heart of the city, sensitively restoring the Grade B listed Victorian properties and giving them a new life as a centre for creative practice, exhibition and collaboration.
Managed by Wasps, Scotland’s national provider of creative spaces, the city-based complex provides working accommodation for visual and applied artists as well as office space for the creative industries, social enterprise and charity sectors, and a welcoming café open to everyone in the community.
The former school building provides 54 workspaces for creative industries and cultural social enterprises, including long term office space, and 26 flexible co-working spaces. The restored former Assembly Hall has been transformed into a light-filled public café, surrounded by public exhibition, events and workshop spaces on two levels overlooking the hall. There is also a range of fully accessible meeting rooms and facilities for hire, plus additional events and exhibition space in the refurbished Gym Hall. The second building, an arts and science extension dating from 1913, provides studio space for over 30 locally-based artists and craftspeople, a community-run photography darkroom, and a workshop space for classes.
In addition to the facilities offered by Inverness Creative Academy, Wasps will be presenting a year-round arts programme, exploiting the new public spaces for exhibitions, promoting local and visiting artists, as well as events, markets and workshops. Wasps is also expanding its arts outreach programme, involving individuals, local community groups and schools. This includes Openarts, a programme designed to support wellbeing, promote social inclusion, and increase accessibility to artmaking for disadvantaged groups in the area.
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© Martin Shields