Creativity space is a work of art

AN old office at Inverclyde’s iconic Watt Institution has been resigned to the filing cabinet after being transformed into a vibrant community arts hub.

The new Creativity Space recently launched at the Watt, which incorporates the McLean Museum & Art Gallery, and is already a hit with the local Alzheimer’s group, who were the first to utilise the area.

It is the first element to have been completed as part of the three-year ‘Watt Voices’ project being funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

An old office space at the museum has been turned into a room to run creative activities and for community groups to use, especially around digital creativity with 3D printers and scanners available.

On a Tuesday lunchtime, a group from Alzheimer’s Scotland run a mini drop-in event for service users and carers they were the first to use the space.

Councillor Jim Clocherty, Inverclyde Council’s convener of education and communities, said: “This is such a useful way to make best use of an old office space by transforming it into a community hub and it’s great to see our local Alzheimer’s group being the first to take full advantage of it.

Creativity Space at the Watt Institution
The new Creativity Space at the Watt Institution, incorporating the McLean Museum & Art Gallery, in Greenock. Pictured is Councillor Jim Clocherty, Inverclyde Council's convener of education and communities, with carers from the Inverclyde Alzheimer Scotland group, who are among the first to use the new community space.

“The Watt Institution is such an iconic building inside and out and has gone from strength to strength since the award-winning £2.1 million refurbishment by the council in 2019.

“The addition of this Creativity Space is another excellent addition to the first-class facilities we have here and I look forward to seeing it grow and develop.”

The development of the space has also been supported by the family of famous Greenock-born musician and conductor Henry Temianka, of whom there is a bust at the museum.

They helped acquire resources for the space in memory of Teminaka, who moved to America and founded and led amongst others the California Chamber Symphony.

Dan Temianka, son of the late Henry, said: “My wife Dr Zeinab Dabbah and I are delighted that the Watt Institution cherishes and promotes creativity in the same way that was so vital to my late father, the great violinist, conductor and educator Henri Temianka.

“It is no coincidence that his bust, cast in bronze by the gifted sculptress Miriam Baker, now stands both at the Watt Institution and in front of the Musco Performing Arts Center at Chapman University in Orange, California.”

The Grade A-listed Watt Institution reopened in October 2019 following an extensive internal and external refurbishment project funded by Inverclyde Council and supported by a £300,000 grant from Historic Environment Scotland.

The project has won several awards, including a prize from the Glasgow Institute of Architects (GIA) 2020 Design Awards.

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