27 March 2008


The Scottish Arts Council today announced they will be providing £4 million of capital funding for the major new arts facility in Aberdeen.

The new centre has secured the largest single grant from this round of capital lottery applications. The announcement was made just before the opening of the Glasgow Art Fair where the model of the new building is on display all week.

The new centre for the contemporary arts will be the first of its kind in the North of Scotland. It is expected to attract around 200,000 visitors a year, bring around £5 million annually into the local economy and provide a centre of excellence which will attract some of the world’s finest contemporary artists to come and work and exhibit in Scotland.

The £13 million development is the result of a pioneering partnership between Aberdeen City Council and Peacock Visual Arts and will bring four of the city’s key arts organisations together under one roof to in a new and innovative way of bringing arts to the people.

The Scottish Arts Council is the first of three first major funding decisions, news about an Aberdeen City Council loa n and grant from Scottish Enterprise Grampian are to follow. The centre will then undertake a capital fundraising appeal to complete the development.

Scottish Ministers approved the plans for the centre last month. The building being dubbed ‘The Northern Light’ due to its North-facing glass terraces will be located in the heart of Aberdeen’s Union Terrace Gardens. The designs for the Aberdeen centre have won praise from Architecture + Design Scotland and are already attracting attention from the global architectural community. The architects Brisac Gonzalez specialise in cultural and multi-purpose facilities including the Museum of Wolrd Culture in Gothenburg. This is their first Scottish development.

Expected to open in 2010 the new centre will provide a major new cultural facility for the North of Scotland. The centre’s activities will span the contemporary arts from hosting exhibitions by world-class artists to running community outreach and education projects.

The landmark building house galleries, printmaking, television and dance studios, workshops and space for music, film screenings and talks. The centre will have a major educational focus involving thousands of school children and young adults and provide the North of Scotland with a much-needed hub for the creative industries. Digital pioneers and film-making will also find a home in the development. The state-of-the-art digital lab and tv studio in the new centre will provide world-class facilities to local filmmakers.

It is hoped the new centre will help graduates from the city’s two universities to remain in the city by offering opportunities within arts and the creative industries. Peacock have already received applications to work in the new centre although it is not scheduled to open until 2010.

A scale model of the new arts centre will be on display at the Glasgow Art Fair which runs from 27th – 30th March, George Square, Glasgow.

Lindsay Gordon, Director of Peacock Visual Arts said: “We are delighted that the Scottish Arts Council have announced this major piece of funding for the new centre. For Peacock this is the culmination of a 10 year journey which transformed a very respected printmakers workshop into one of Scotland’s finest contemporary arts organisations. The new centre will be a beacon of creativity in the North of Scotland and help position Aberdeen on par with other Northern European cultural centres such as Copenhagen and Helsinki.”

Kate Dean, Council Leader, Aberdeen City Council said: “This is terrific news from the Scottish Arts Council. The new centre will give our city a flagship cultural centre and provide Scotland with one of its most exciting cultural developments of recent years.”

Iain Munro, Co-Director of Arts, Scottish Arts Council said: “The Scottish Arts Council is pleased to support this exciting and inspirational new project in an architecturally sensitive and beautiful new building in Union Terrace Gardens. It is a visionary project of local, national and potentially international significance and will be an exciting new addition to Scotland’s cultural facilities. The project is more than a facility merely to re-house Peacock Visual arts, but represents a new model for Scotland for diverse artistic creativity to be housed under one roof. Peacock’s partnership with City Moves and Aberdeen City Council’s Arts and Educations Teams means the project will offer everyone in Aberdeen, the North East and beyond exciting new opportunities to engage in a wide range of creative activity.”

Pete Irvine, Director, Glasgow Art Fair said: “This is great news for Peacock Visual Arts and for Scotland. We are delighted that they are exhibiting work at Glasgow Art Fair this weekend and doing what they do best – showing fresh exciting work by Scotland’s top and emerging artists.

Notes to Editors:

For more information and to arrange interviews or photos please call Elly Rothnie, Campaign Director, Peacock Visual Arts 0781 7570 321