About Us

Our History

Since 1977, we’ve been breaking down barriers to reconnect people with art, culture and creativity.

Nottingham Community Arts Centre
©, Reg Baker and www.picturethepast.org.uk 1986

At a public meeting in 1977, the seeds were sown for a new organisation that would eventually become City Arts. In the months that followed, Nottingham Community Arts & Crafts Centre was established in Hyson Green, at the site now occupied by New Art Exchange. The volunteer-led organisation aimed to offer local artists and craftspeople the facilities to earn a living from their work.

A poster designed by Keith Piper, 1984. Screen printed at Nottingham Community Arts Centre
A poster for the 1986 Rock & Reggae Festival. Designed and printed by Mike Sinclair.

The Centre quickly evolved, working with members of the local community on projects including puppetry, street theatre, playschemes and murals. It was known for its screen-printing facilities and photography darkroom. Nottingham Community Arts & Crafts Centre became Nottingham Community Arts, sometimes known as NCA. In the early 2000’s the name changed to City Arts.

Former logos for City Arts & Nottingham Community Arts
Different logos the organisation has had

Since the mid-1980’s, the organisation had been supporting pioneering South Asian arts organisation APNA and African Caribbean arts organisation EMACA. It invited them to take an equal stake in the Hyson Green building, which became The Art Exchange. City Arts left when the two merged to become New Art Exchange. After a few years based in Radford, in 2015 the organisation settled in its current city centre home, 11-13 Hockley.

City Arts building in Hockley, Nottingham
11-13 Hockley. Photo by Lamar Francois, 2022

As Nottingham’s leading community arts organisation, City Arts impacts thousands of lives in the city, the country and overseas.

This is a distilled version of our history. Do you know more about Nottingham Community Arts or City Arts? We’d love to hear from you!