Portsmouth artists and residents invited to hear update on Artches project

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IT’S an initiative that will breathe new life into a set of historic barracks and give young people the chance to showcase their art skills.

Now residents and artists are being invited to attend an event unveiling the vision to turn Old Portsmouth into an arts and crafts quarter.

It’s incredibly exciting the transformation of the hotwalls area into a creative quarter will get underway soon.

Councillor Linda Symes, Tory cabinet member for culture, leisure and sport

Plans have been approved by the city council to turn 13 of the arches at Point Battery into art studios for students, a project known as the Artches.

The scheme got the go-ahead thanks to a £1.75m grant from the government’s Coastal Communities Fund.

A further £100,000 has been pledged by the council.

The open day on Sunday, September 13, which runs from 10.30am to 3pm, will provide an update on the progress of the development.

A new name and branding will be unveiled.

Project officers will be on hand to answer questions and the opportunities for a brasserie and cafe to be created.

And local artists will showcase their work.

Councillor Linda Symes, the council’s cabinet member for culture, leisure and sport, who approved the council’s financial contribution, said: ‘It’s incredibly exciting that the transformation of the Hot Walls area into a creative quarter will get underway soon.

‘I’d like to encourage residents to visit the site during the open day so they can find out more and speak to those involved.

‘It’s a chance to see examples of how the new studios will look and the new branding for the development will also be revealed.

‘Disruption will be kept to a minimum during the development, and the outcome will definitely be worth it as the studios will provide jobs and help prolong the life of the monument.’

Work on the studios is scheduled to start in September and will open next year.

There are plans for a not-for-profit company to run the studios and the council wants to work with another firm to run the brasserie and cafe.

The council assured this summer that no construction work would happen during the America’s Cup World Series to ensure no disruption was caused.

Cllr Lee Hunt, Lib Dem culture spokesman, was influential in getting the scheme off the ground.