An arts school is set to move into the Newington Library, four years after the adjoining Walworth Town Hall was ravaged by a fire.
The Art Academy – an independent art school based in Borough High Street – has signed a two year lease with Southwark Council.
It will use the building to provide new facilities for its students, as well as courses available to the wider public and space for events such as public exhibitions available for free.
Two more creative groups Art Angel and Cool Tan Arts will also take up residence in the old library building in Walworth Road.
The Newington Library collection – currently at its temporary home in The Artworks – would be moved to another new venue in the Elephant and Castle and Walworth area by 2018, rather than move into a refurbished Town Hall building, as per the council’s previous plan.
The Art Academy is also continuing its crowdfunding campaign to raise £31,000, which it will use for improvements such as a new creative lighting system; redecorating; sounds proofing; WiFi installation and security.
Councillor Johnson Situ, cabinet member for business, culture and social regeneration, said: “I am delighted that The Art Academy will be setting up in the old Newington Library. They will create an exciting cultural hub for young people and other members of the community, with a great programme of evening classes and new Young Artist weekend courses.”
Charles Savage, principal at the Art Academy, said: “We are incredibly excited about moving part of The Art Academy to the old Newington Library.
“It’s a great opportunity for our current students to be housed in the wonderful building, but we are also looking forward to running new courses that will be accessible to the local community. We believe we’ll become a much enjoyed member of the Walworth Road community.”
The Art Academy’s crowdfunding page has so far attracted more than £16,000 towards their target, from 60 backers.
Visit www.spacehive.com/art-academy-at-newington-library to visit its crowdfunding page.
In June, the council announced plans to find a private backer to help pay for works to revive the Grade-II Town Hall.
A report from the council in June also said that a permanent home has still yet to be found for the Cuming Collection. But some pieces from the collection will be displayed at local schools and libraries.