Its been 40 years since we moved to our harbourside home. We celebrate this anniversary by launching a new strand to our work, Arnolfini Story. CEO Kate Brindley explains...
This summer marks several important milestones for Arnolfini. We welcome artist Richard Long back to our galleries, 50 years into a career that has brought him great international acclaim and which started here, in his home city of Bristol; we get ready to welcome the students and staff of UWE’s Creative Arts Department as our partners and neighbours from September; and we celebrate 40 years since moving in to our home, Bush House.
Arnolfini programme cover, 1975
Back in 1975, the once busy docks had fallen in to disuse and near-dereliction, as Bristol’s main sea-trading activity had moved down river to Avonmouth. Arnolfini, under the stewardship of our founding director Jeremy Rees, was one of a tiny handful of organisations who pioneered an alternative use for the area, opening up the waterfront for cultural activity, leisure and tourism. Today, with the examples of Tate Liverpool, BALTIC, and the Guggenheim, Bilbao, we are accustomed to the idea of arts-led regeneration of former industrial docks. 40 years ago, it was unheard of. We kick started the transformation of this beautiful part of our city centre in to the thriving hub that it is now, and in the process set a precedent of real significance.
To coincide with this anniversary, we are developing a new strand to our work, the Arnolfini Story, a series of projects and events that will celebrate the heritage of our organisation. This launches in July with the Edge and Shore’s Acts of Doing, and a party looking back at a very special performance at Arnolfini in 1985 by The Wild Bunch. Look out too for more images like the one above from our archive, and also opportunities for you to share your Arnolfini Story with us.
We very warmly welcome you to join us in celebrating.
Kate Brindley, Arnolfini Chief Executive Officer.