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firstsite

Artist's impression of Firstsite at night

firstsite is a visual arts organisation based in Colchester, Essex and is housed in Colchester's new visual arts facility of the same name.

 Led by founding director Katherine Wood, it is committed to commissioning and showing new art from around the globe. It is part of the Plus Tate group of UK regional galleries.

firstsite's mission is to make contemporary art relevant and life changing for everyone. Local outreach programs and public art projects in the community are integral to this vision.

firstsite is dedicated to supporting the creative community, growing local talent and enhancing Colchester as a cultural destination. Its aim is to broaden the cultural offer in one of the UK's fastest growing towns and to develop local audiences for contemporary art.

Inspired by Colchester's Roman heritage, firstsite's bold design is more than a traditional art gallery; its unusual curved form hugs the parkland landscape whilst its unique engineering preserves the Roman treasures which may lie beneath.

Designed by award-winning architect Rafael Vinoly and selected from a worldwide competition entry of over 100 submissions, the crescent-shaped building clad with a unique golden alloy presents a creative space and a landmark destination. At 3,200 square metres,firstsite will rank among the largest contemporary art venues in the UK.

The building is open seven days a week and houses a vibrant programme of changing exhibitions, workshops, lectures and community events. Admission is free and includes

  • flexible presentation spaces for exhibitions of contemporary visual arts
  • daytime cafe/evening restaurant with terrace overlooking a new public park
  • a shop selling gifts and souvenirs
  • artists' spaces for project work and artists-in-residence
  • purpose-built learning studios for workshops, school groups, community activity
  • 200-seat auditorium with full conference facilities
  • meeting areas and a range of meeting rooms for hire