Arts Council England has awarded Merton Council a £62,000 grant which will be spent on refurbishing the back of Wimbledon Library to create a flexible out-of-hours performance and exhibition space. The award of the grant follows a successful bid from the council’s libraries and heritage service.
Called the Merton Arts Space project, the council is set to create a flexible area to include movable bookcases as well as chairs and tables and sound and lighting rigs which organisations will be able to use after library opening hours to stage their own events. The space will enrich the council’s cultural offer to the people of Merton, and attract library users and residents to the library to enjoy and benefit from a broad arts programme. As well as exhibitions and performances, there will also be impromptu “scratch sessions”, which will give the audience the opportunity to see new work being developed in comedy, music and other performing arts.
The council is expecting to open the new space this summer. A programme of events is expected to be published in early June.
Merton Council’s cabinet member for community and culture, Councillor Nick Draper, said: “Merton’s Officers worked hard to obtain this funding, which we will use to further enhance our award-winning library service. It will mean that community groups will be able to stage performances in an iconic, historic place right at the heart of Wimbledon. Our cultural offer will become all the richer for it and I can’t wait to see the performances that arts groups will be putting on there in months to come.”