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The organisation was founded as Nottingham Community Arts & Crafts Centre in 1977. It was based in Hyson Green on the site now occupied by New Art Exchange. It offered local communities access to facilities like screen printing equipment and photography dark rooms. The Centre also worked with the local community on projects including puppetry, street theatre, playschemes and murals. It helped to run community events like the Rock & Reggae festival on the Forest Recreation Ground.
Madeline Holmes, City Arts’ Creative Director, believes this heritage shapes City Arts work to this day:
“Community Arts has radical origins and the principle of creating work with communities, instead of simply presenting it to them, still holds strong. We continue to give people & communities who are disenfranchised by society the opportunity for creative self-expression, whether it is through the workshops we run for people with mental health issues or the major arts events we produce with the former coalfield communities of North Nottinghamshire.”
The charity went through a number of name changes (Nottingham Community Arts, NCA, and City Arts Nottingham) and moved from Hyson Green to various locations around Radford. In 2014, City Arts moved into new premises in Hockley offering a programme of public events and exhibitions created with community groups and vulnerable people.
Recent City Arts projects include: creating an inclusive and accessible troupe for Nottingham Carnival, featuring mobility scooter floats for older and disabled people; producing opening and closing ceremonies for the Cerebral Palsy World Games; producing exhibitions for artists with mental health issues; and, leading the flagship arts and older people programme Imagine, which takes art and artists into Nottingham Care Homes.
Tim Challans, City Arts Chair, said:
“I’m extremely proud to be Chair of this fantastic organisation as it begins its fortieth year. On the front of our building you’ll find the slogan ‘art is for everyone, art brings us together, art can change lives’ – that is what we believe and that is what we practice and I hope that we can continue to do so for another 40 years.”
Show your support!
We need you to help make our next forty years as brilliant, ambitious and inspiring as the last! There are lots of ways you can help:
- Join us for our events throughout the year
- Share your City Arts story and show your support on social
media, using the hashtag #CityArtsAt40
- Dig deep and donate as much as you can afford so we can
continue making life changing art!
Anniversary Programme highlights:
‘Forty Years of City Arts’ Exhibition
12th September – 10th November 2017
Artwork and photographs from across the decades are on display in the City Arts window. Featuring a poster for the Rock & Reggae festival made at the community printshop, photos by Jo Wheeler who documented Hyson Green in the mid-1990’s, and a 2012 artwork by Kurdish refugee Gaylan Nazhad.
Young Producers Takeover
6th – 27th November 2017
Young Producers are a group of talented young people that City Arts is supporting to become the next generation of community artists by offering resources, mentoring and opportunities. For the past two years, the group has taken over our building in Hockley to run community workshops, produce exhibitions and put on live music and performance poetry.
‘Box of Delights’ Exhibition
8th – 18th December 2017
For Christmas, City Arts is inviting 40 artists to create a magical world inside a cardboard box.
The 40 boxes will form the centrepiece of our 2017 Christmas window exhibition.
City Arts Cabaret Evening
3rd March 2018
Join City Arts at Holme Pierrepont to celebrate their 40th anniversary in style! We will be raising funds for our incredible projects and community work as well as presenting a special evening of live music, entertainment and local food and drink. We will also be hosting an art auction.
City Arts Folk Proms
April – June 2018
As part of our celebratory year, City Arts will be joined by a host of local music acts, including bands and solo performers. They include well-known favourites Kelly’s Heroes, Marc Block, Delicata and Paul Carbuncle will be headlining the proms, supported by familiar names on the local folk scene.