THE transformation was complete when The Hub in Sleaford was officially relaunched under its new brand name - The National Centre for Craft and Design on Saturday.
During the morning over 70 guests from art organisations, local authorities, gallery directors and curators were “wowed” by the vibrant paintwork deonating each floor and branding inside and outside the building, entertained by street artists and musicians and browsed the products in the craft shop and treats on the café menu. They had an opportunity to view the new areas specially created for learning and community (the second floor mezzanine area has now been rededicated as an area for primary age children to amuse themselves with hands-on activities) as well as enjoying an exhibition telling the journey of the Hub from its original beginnings as a seed warehouse to its status as The National Centre for Craft and Design.
The Lord Lieutenant of Lincolnshire, Tony Worth joined Leader of North Kesteven District Council Marion Brighton (the authority owns the building), NKDC chief executive Ian Fytche, Arts Council England Senior Manager Simon Fitch and NCCD’s Business and Creative Manager Claire Edwards to formally launch the National Centre.
Coun Brighton reiterated the fact that with record attendances of 90,000 visitors during the past year, The National Centre plays an important part within Lincolnshire’s economy as well as North Kesteven’s visitor economy which is in excess of one million per year. Coun Brighton went on that the transformation has been fantastic since 2003 from low visitor numbers. “It is free to enter and we are hoping to get many more people come through the doors.”
Close to 500 local residents, families and visitors enjoyed creating badges, decorating ceramic tiles and listening to Lincolnshire stories throughout the afternoon.
The Hub opened in 2003, created from the old Hubbard and Phillips seed warehouse as part of the Single Regeneration Budget. Since then its profile has grown nationally and internationally and Mr Fytche said they wanted to capitalise on that success and link it to the other organisations based there - the Design Factory which promotes creative industries in craft and design across the East Midlands and with ArtsNK the district’s performing arts promoter.
They have secured £600,000 Arts Council National Portfolio funding for the next three years and client officer Mike Lock said: “The re-brand has been done carefully so all the decoration fits into this graphic identity.” A design company has come up with a graphic image repeated throughout the centre’s merchandise and branding. This has included repainting parts of the interior and exterior walls, during the scheduled refurbishment works in vibrant new colours, including the eye catching colour scheme on the wall overlooking Eastgate car park.
The new name gets away from the Hub and highlights what the facility is - a national centre, heightening its profile to an audience and artists from further afield. The brown direction signs have also all been replaced. Mr Lock said the whole exercise has been done within a modest budget.