The Attenborough Arts Centre! Formerly known as Embrace Arts, it’s a multi-use inclusive arts centre which prides itself on being accessible and inclusive. It houses a 120-seater performance area, three studios, and an exhibition gallery. Its programme covers a wide range of art forms, offering courses and workshops, contemporary art, performance and live art, theatre and comedy, live music and jazz, dance, as well as activities for children and families. It’s located on the edge of the main university campus, and yet I’ve never been there before!
I decided to write a bit about the Attenborough Arts Centre this time because it’s been receiving a bit of attention lately. Sir David Attenborough was recently in Leicester, giving his public talk ‘Beauty in Nature’ at De Montfort Hall on Thursday. I didn’t get a chance to go – tickets went ridiculously quickly, they were all gone in about five minutes! But from what I’ve heard it was an amazing lecture. Sir David was also invited to the Attenborough Arts Centre, which was founded by his late brother Richard Attenborough, to open the new gallery wing yesterday (you can watch that here). The Attenboroughs are pretty prominent figures at the University of Leicester, with the Attenborough Tower named after Frederick Attenborough, father of Sir David and Richard, who was a Principal of the University College from 1931 to 1951.
Having had a look at the Attenborough Arts Centre website, there’s absolutely loads going on. For those Art Historians that began their academic careers as fine artists, like I did, there are visual art activities, such as learning how to master colour in oil painting and learning how to use oil paints effectively to create portraits. Or you can just explore the new contemporary art gallery. Contemporary art is one of the best kinds of art in my opinion. And it’s free entry so why not?
The University of Leicester is a predominantly very scientific university, and I’ve often felt like the arts are an under-appreciated discipline. But the Attenborough Arts Centre is just an indication that the visual arts do have a place at a university that prides itself mainly on its scientific research and innovations.
So although I haven’t actually been there myself, I would recommend anyone studying art, anyone interested in art, or anyone looking to do something cultural or arty in Leicester to visit the Attenborough Arts Centre and the new gallery wing. I would like to go there myself at some point when I have some spare time!