An exciting year ahead


Since submitting our planning application last November, we have been overwhelmed by the support for the project. Of course there are some critics of the project and given where the site is, this was only to be expected.

In 2011, Dorset County Council gifted the land to Sherborne Arts Trust with the specific purpose of building an arts centre on the site. The design of the building has had to take into account many factors, especially the views from Sherborne House, which is Grade 1 listed, the impact on the Paddock Garden and nearby residents.

We have worked hard with the architects to ensure the building creates minimum impact on our surroundings and neighbours and that it compliments our beautiful town. We will be using Sherborne stone on the facade, the finishes will be of the highest standard and there will be a specially commissioned art work on the glazing facing the car park.

The two large galleries will be environmentally controlled which means that we can secure important art works on loan from national galleries and museums. Our ambition is to present seven exhibitions a year which bring together historic and contemporary works across all art forms including painting, drawing, sculpture, photography, design and craft.

Sometimes we will be showing artworks which are too large to be delivered through the main access route and will need to be transported through the bottom end of the Paddock Garden. This will happen just a few times a year and only when the garden is closed to the public.

Our two activity studios will host a programme of creative classes, courses and workshops for all ages. Think painting workshops for the under 5s, coding and hacking events for teenagers, creative writing courses, screen printing and much much more.

The 120 seat cinema/auditorium is a really exciting new development. We will be showing the latest independent films, timeless classics, children’s films and cartoons as well as hosting live music, talks, debates and comedy.

You can see all our plans HERE and can still comment up to the day of the Planning Committee meeting, which is likely to be on the 14 February.

Our vision for the Paddock Project is for it to be the social hub of the town. We believe it will be a huge asset for the town and can’t wait to get started.