Liverpool arts centre to get £600,000 refurbishment

The Black-E arts centre Image copyright Google
Image caption The Black-E sits next to Liverpool's Chinatown in the former Great George Street Congregation Chapel

The Black-E contemporary arts centre in Liverpool city centre is to undergo a £600,000 refurbishment.

The Grade II-listed building, which dates back to 1840, will get a new outdoor seating and play area.

The Arts Council is contributing £450,000 to the project while Liverpool City Council is investing £100,000 and £40,000 is from private contributions.

The centre will remain open during the renovation work.

'Warm and convivial'

The Black-E was one of the UK's first community arts projects when it was launched in 1968 in the former Great George Street Congregation Chapel.

Inside the building, rehearsal and performance spaces will be upgraded and disabled access will be improved.

The director of the centre, Bill Harpe, said the new outdoor space would make the exterior better represent the "warm and convivial" atmosphere inside.

"The exterior of the building looks distinguished and noble but doesn't yet give a sense of the convivial, warm interior."

He said metalwork artist Giusseppe Lund was going to create "a welcoming play area for children" with tables and chairs.

The adjoining house where the former chapel's priest and his family used to live will be made into meeting rooms.

The money invested by the council, which owns the building, will be repaid over the next 20 years through a new lease.

Mayor Joe Anderson praised the centre, saying: "Anyone who has ever been to The Black-E knows they do absolutely incredible work getting young people involved in culture and the arts."

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