Art centre takes step forward
Permission is granted to convert a former school
Plans to redevelop Perth’s former St John’s Primary School into an arts hub took a step forward this week as permission was granted to transform the building’s interior.
The building, which was closed in 2011, is set to become a Creative Exchange, offering a mix of offices and studios for artists to help establish themselves and grow their respective businesses.
The site is also set to host the Famous Grouse Ideas Centre, which is hoped will become a hub of innovation and inspiration.
Construction is set to begin early next year and, once it is built, the project will feature 26 studios, 13 offices, a public cafe, and an exhibition and workshop space, which will be open to the community.
Councillor Colin Stewart is convener of Perth and Kinross Council’s environment, enterprise and infrastructure committee described planning permission being rubber-stamped as a “big step forward”.
He said: “The work will transform the old school building into a facility that will be a unique prospect for those who work in the creative industries.
“When it opens in 2019, it will be a centrepiece of our ambition to enhance the reputation of Perth as a cultural hub for Scotland, along with other developments that will make up our cultural quarter.”
The Creative Exchange, once opened, will be managed on behalf of the council byWorkshop and Artists’ Studio Provision Scotland Ltd.
WASPS’s chief executive officer, Audrey Carlin, said: “Receiving planning permission is a significant milestone for Perth Creative Exchange and we are really excited Artists Luisa Ramazzotti, Claire Harkess, Susie Johnston and Libby Scott outside the former St John’s Primary School about moving this project forward with Perth and Kinross Council.
“We have identified a distinct need for creative office and workspace in Perth and are looking forward to bringing our service to the thriving creative community that is currently based within the city and wider region.
“In particular, Perth Creative Exchange will retain talent in the city and will provide new opportunities for the 650 students at Perth College UHI who undertake creative courses each year, helping them to establish their careers in the city.
“This project will develop Perth’s cultural offer and support community access to the arts and cultural learning.”
A second planning application for the building’s external features, which will include a new entrance being created to the building on Stormont Street, still needs to be submitted to planning officers.