Staying in the city of Robin Hood? Explore its magnificent contemporary art gallery, established in an area filled with contrasting history. Conveniently located in the city center it definitely deserves your visit. Plus, the best part is the entrance is totally free – their motto: international art, for everyone, for free.
Modern meets antique
The iconic building of the Nottingham Contemporary lies where the sandstone of the old county town was built, above the alluvial of the Trent Valley – one of the city's most important historical sites. This area was home to the original Saxon settlement, the medieval Town Hall, and the Victorian railway cutting.
Witness the history symbolized in the architecture of the building itself –combining a brutally modern structure, which is at the same time historically elegant. The design was a project conceived by the renowned architects Caruso St John. When plotting ideas for the structure, they found inspiration in the Lace Market – the trade center in the 19th-century – and its sophisticated warehouses. Therefore, the structure represents a traditional lace pattern, characteristic of Nottingham.
The center was opened in 2009 and comprises an area of around 3,000 m2, making it one of the largest art centers in the United Kingdom. It contains four galleries, a space for performances and film screenings, a shop and a café. The café serves a seasonal menu, exquisite cakes, and award-winning chocolates.
The gallery hosts exhibitions which change regularly according to the season. The newspaper The Observer described their program as "constantly inventive". So, you must experience it by yourself. Luckily, the website is really informative so check what's showing before heading there. Elsewhere, they work with the local community with several programs to inspire the creation of local contemporary art. Keep an eye on the regular events, talks, fairs and family activities also available. You just need to drop in.
Recently, the museum started hosting cinema nights. The program offers seasons of Classic, Cult and Art House films. Their intention is to bring to life movies that have been overlooked or forgotten during the years. It is a great place to watch some international movies and auteur cinema. Make sure you check out the website to see what's on when you are visiting.
The gallery is recognized all over the world and has received over 1.2 million visitors since its foundation. Contemporary artists like David Hockney, Alberto Giacometti, Bridget Riley, Pablo Bronstein, among others, have showcased their work.