Ilford's new art gallery is officially open
PUBLISHED: 09:48 16 December 2019 | UPDATED: 15:27 16 December 2019
�David Mirzoeff 2019. All rights reserved.
A new art gallery in Ilford town centre opened at the weekend with an afternoon of workshops, short films and interactive exhibitions.
Space Ilford, built in part of Redbridge Town Hall, offers a free public art gallery, event space and 37 affordable studios for artists and creatives.
Space is a leading artist support organisation that has championed the role of artists in London since 1968.
Award-winning architects HAT Projects led the conversion of the former library of the Grade II listed building, retaining the period detailing, while creating a new public entrance, with a curved, fluted concrete wall that echoes features in the existing building, and a light-filled gallery featuring an original domed rooflight.
For the first public art commission at the gallery, artist and architect Sahra Hersi has created a large-scale illustration based on her childhood home in Ilford, which is displayed outside the building's entrance.
Sahra's work speaks about how spaces and locations shape us and the billboard is the first in a series of annual commissions providing visibility and support for artists in the Redbridge area.
More than 700 people turned out for the grand opening of the gallery on Saturday, December 7, which involved a showcase from artists working with new technologies in the studios, short films created by young people, free drinks from an artist collective based in Barking and Dagenham which picks and produces its own drinks, and a cake in the shape of Redbridge Town Hall.
Visitors also had the chance to join artist Diana Taylor for an experimental textiles and print workshop and visit Lindsey Mendick's solo exhibition, "Regrets, I've Had a Few".
Space is part of Redbridge Council's plans to transform Ilford's town centre into a "buzzing, cultural destination" and is partly funded through the Mayor of London's £70million Good Growth Fund for the capital.
The gallery will close on Saturday, December 21 for Christmas and re-open on Wednesday, January 8.
Space will be joined by summer 2020 by Mercato Metropolitano, who will be opening a covered food market on the site of the town hall car park, and Things Made Public, who are turning a former carpet factory in Janice Mews into a co-working and event space.