Nottingham Contemporary celebrates three happy years and 700,000 visits
ON November 14, 2009, the £20 million Nottingham Contemporary opened its doors to the public for the first time with an impressive exhibition of work by David Hockney.
Since that date, it has welcomed more than 700,000 visitors and contributed an estimated £23 million to the local economy through visitor spending and local contract work.
Yesterday, selected guests gathered to reflect on the achievements of the past three years, led by gallery director Alex Farquharson. He said: "Nottingham Contemporary set out to be an international gallery with a strong local sense of purpose. Looking back over the last three years, I feel this is something that we have achieved."
Landlords let us advertise your property and find you vetted tenants quickly. Our let only service is £195.
We offer full management services as well as rent guarantee and rent advance. Call us
Terms: No hidden charges, you will be informed of all costs in advance. The letting agency you can trust.
Contact: 0115 8969582
Valid until: Sunday, June 30 2013
The gallery recently celebrated its 700,000th visitor – 50 per cent more than hoped for. It has also successfully attracted younger visitors – 64 per cent were under 35.
Mr Farquharson said: "It's up to the public to determine whether we've been successful or not. It's safe to say we've exceeded our expectations and, hopefully, some of theirs as well."
He spoke about some of the highlights – which included welcoming pieces by David Hockney, often called Britain's favourite artist – and the challenges, such as when 12 people spent over three hours trying to get a one-tonne concrete-filled elephant by Chinese artist Huang Yong Ping into the gallery.
The birthday was marked with a cake in the shape of the building that was unveiled by one of the Contemporary's zebra mascots and children from Edale Rise Primary School, in Sneinton Dale.
Lord Mayor Councillor Leon Unczur joined in the celebrations and said it was a joy, as he had been involved from the beginning. "What it brings to the city is self-evident. It brings huge amounts of money. It brings jobs to people in the city. But if you look at it the other way, it brings a tremendous joy to a great deal of people."
The gallery has contributed to the city through educational projects, which have helped everyone from primary school children to elderly people with dementia.
One charity project which would not be here today without the Contemporary is Art Outlook, an art group for adults with learning difficulties and mental health problems. Martin Sommerville, 35, a community artist with the organisation, said: "We lost our funding and our venue the week Nottingham Contemporary opened and it offered to house us, which meant we could carry on."
The gallery also welcomed people who share its birthday – November 14 – including Andy Warwick, 45, a software developer, from Colwick.
"I came to the opening as part of my birthday celebrations," he said. "It's been very significant for me, as I met my partner that opening weekend as well. It's been a tradition for us to come here every year to celebrate my birthday and our anniversary."
Everyone can celebrate the Contemporary's birthday on Saturday, when cupcakes will be given out during a family activity to create an artwork inspired by the current exhibition of Haitian art. The event is free and runs from 11am to 3pm.