The Wysing Arts Centre in rural Cambridgeshire provides local and international artists with studio and exhibition space that supports the creative process. Designed by Hawkins\Brown.
Wysing Arts Centre re-opened on 18 January 2008 following a £1.7 million redevelopment of the site. The site, located nine miles west of Cambridge, was originally an old farm comprising 4.5 hectares of low grade arable land, a 17th-century grade II listed farmhouse and various other farm buildings. It had been converted into basic low cost studio space for local artists by the centre’s founders, with a farm building used as an exhibition gallery.
Today, the site boasts a new free-standing studio block providing purpose-built accommodation for up to nine artists with a ‘new media’ suite for artists and community use and an education space for schools and colleges. A new reception building includes gallery space and is linked to the refurbished exhibition gallery, the two providing space for exhibitions. Including the existing accommodation on the site, there are now 24 professional artists working from Wysing, supported by four full-time members of staff. Artists-in-residence are encouraged to take creative risks in a supportive environment, and discussion and debate about new thinking in art practices are at the heart of the organisation.
The new buildings at Wysing Arts Centre opened to critical acclaim, with the artist community and architectural writers praising the new facilities. Demand for the new studio spaces has been strong, and necessitated a carefully managed selection process to choose the artists to occupy the new spaces. Wysing Arts Centre is poised to enter a new phase as an artistic centre of excellence in rural Cambridgeshire.