SEACOURT COMES FULL CIRCLE WITH RELOCATION TO ICONIC BUILDING IN HEART OF TOWN CENTRE
Seacourt Print Workshop is delighted to be taking up residence in the Ulster Bank Building, on Bangor Main Street.
The building has stood unoccupied since 2017 following the closure of the bank but many of the banking idiosyncrasies remain, such as the beautiful, caged vault, pneumatic tube banking systems, and the iconic front elevation, which is Grade B1 listed. The building was built in 1920 and in its 101st year we hope to bring it back to life, contributing to the regeneration of Bangor, and its revival as an arts and culture destination, locally and beyond.
As we celebrate our 40th anniversary we feel extremely fortunate to be moving into such a well-known premises, at the heart of our hometown, where it all began, in 1981. Seacourt is an open access printmaking studio which is utilised by people of all ages with fantastic resources, ranging from etching and letterpress to lithography and screen-printing. A town centre location has been a long-held ambition for our charity and we hope to play a part encouraging more people to Bangor’s town centre with a dedicated exhibition space and programme of high profile exhibitions.
Our 80 members are looking forward to welcoming people to exhibitions, events, and workshops later in the year as we celebrate our 40th anniversary in our unique new home. As early as next month, the public can expect to see a number of new courses on offer, such as ‘Print and Prosecco’, a new membership certification course, and lots of workshops and events in the pipeline for 2022.
As we have packed up our prints, our inks and equipment in our Balloo premises we have enjoyed rifling through our workshop uncovering lots of amazing equipment, interesting archive documents including a letter from Hilary Clinton to our co-founder Margaret Arthur, dating back to 1998, following her exhibition at the United States Capitol Rotunda, Washington DC.
Seacourt’s Director Emma Drury says, “We very much hope Seacourt’s new town centre location will place us back on local people’s radar. When we held our #bangorbythesea town centre pop-up event in 2019, we realised that many (local residents) didn’t know where we landed after we left the basement of the Carnegie Library. We hope that being in close proximity to transportation links will help us open up our services to more people during what will be a pivotal time for our organisation’s development.”
What the motivations were for moving.
The Ulster Bank is Seacourt’s fifth and forever home. We look back fondly to our time at Seacourt Teacher’s Centre and in the basement of Carnegie Library where we were close to the centre of Bangor. In the early 1990’s we hoped to secure a town centre location and undertook a feasibility study and drew up some ambitious plans but we were unable to find premises that worked and we relocated to Balloo industrial estate. Our services grew again and we took a larger unit but whilst we had lots of space we lacked passing visitors and community.
As Bangor moves towards regeneration we wanted to locate our organisation in the centre of things and play our part in the changes that are ahead. We believe that our town centre needs cultural organisations to help rejuvenate and attract people to have experiences.
We will be working over time to renovate and redevelop the Ulster Bank Building ensuring the building is improved and does not stand empty and fall into disrepair. We are excited about the potential the building offers for creativity.
When will Seacourt be open again or hope to be open again.
Seacourt will be open to our members by the beginning of October and we will be offering exhibtions, courses and events over the coming months. We are celebrating our 40th anniversary and will be welcoming people in to a series of celebrations between October and December 2021.
What the benefits are of the new Seacourt HQ.
Our new building places us in a landmark building in the town centre where we can connect people to creativity. We hope this will allow us to grow our membership, increase the health and wellbeing driven services we offer and give our artists the opportunity to share their amazing work with greater numbers of people.
We will also bring imagination and entrepreneurship to the town centre. Working with partners like Open House and Boom Studios we want to help the cultural life of the town consolidate and grow, providing employment for artists and engaging people of all ages in creative activities.
Our new building is 5 minutes walk from the train station and the excellent public transport links will help us be more accessible.
“We are thrilled to return to Bangor’s town centre and we will play an active role in rebuilding the Main Street and in the broader regeneration of the town. We think there is huge potential in the town and hope we can work with others to see it grown and develop.”
We have just launched a modest selection of courses for the Autumn based in our new premises. We have been carrying out some essential maintenance to the interior of the building to get it ready for our members to return and invite you all to visit our new home in due course. We will also be exhibiting Joanne Fitzpatrick’s ‘Reconstruct’ exhibition once we open, on the lead up to our annual members’ Christmas Exhibition.
You can travel to Seacourt by car, bus or train and there is plentiful, reasonably priced parking throughout the town including at the rear of Bingham Mall, the Seafront and the Vennel.