About Arts Hub
Our collective is about working together as organisations as well as individuals and has been created by many partners including Creative Innovation Centre CIC (CICCIC) GoCreate CIC, Somerset Youth Theatre, local artists and other organisations within the arts and culture sector and supported by Somerset West & Taunton Council.
Though most activities happen at the Arts Hub our activities go beyond our bricks and mortar and reach other parts of our community in other venues and spaces. We have a bank of partnerships to help deliver on our vision and goals and support the wider sector. From creating a new ‘Youth Arts Hub’ for Taunton to delivering health and wellbeing activities for all ages.
How We Are Run
Though we do activities beyond our bricks and mortar our home is a building with studios/office spaces and an activity room. It is run by a collective of organisations, artists, creative professionals and community individuals who believe that arts and culture can have a positive impact on individuals and communities and all managed by Creative Innovation Centre CIC. Some of our collective are residents within our building, and some are not.
Youth Arts Hub
As a collective we have come together to create a Youth Arts Hub. This allows us to respond to the needs of young people in our area by collectively working together to find finance and resources to support the delivery of many arts and cultural activities for these young people. These include doing activities in other areas and spaces throughout the district and continue to expand with new partnerships joining us every month.
Originally, Flook House was a manor house dating from the 17th century and in the 20th century it was the registry office for births, deaths and marriages for Taunton Deane Borough Council and our activity room used to be where couples got married and exchanged their vows through a civil ceremony.
When the registry office moved in 2005 only a few small volunteer organisations had offices there but 80% of the building was empty, including the marriage room. In fact, a 2018/19 report suggested demolishing it, but a group of councillors concluded it should be saved and invested in “for its historical interest and potential social value”.
In 2015, Creative Innovation Centre (CICCIC); who was only 3 years old at the time; proposed to the council that the building be used for business development for the creative industries. (See proposal here). However, the council decided not to support its use for creative industries.
In 2019, the Liberal Democrats gained overall control in the first election for the new Somerset West and Taunton Council (Taunton Deane & West Somerset Councils combined) and with this new administration conversations about using Flook House as a creative industries centre had new meanings.
In 2021, CICCIC, who is now 8 years old, rekindled conversations with Somerset West and Taunton Council (SWT) but this time from an arts and culture perspective. Plus, with partnerships built up with the likes of GoCreate a fresh proposal to create the Arts Hub was born. (See copy of proposal).
With support of a small grant from SWT and GoCreate, we were able to accommodate parts of the building but it desperately needed doing up.
CICCIC was able to rustle up a bank of volunteers from the community and partnerships and the marriage room was made good with a paint party and pizza weekend. But the marriage room floor was awful, and we needed broadband everywhere, so CICCIC spent time using its own financial resources and applying for a small grant from Somerset Community Foundation, which it was able to achieve through these endeavors.
CICCIC is now the management organisation for all things Arts Hub and all its residents, studios and business development.
Since 2022 the whole building is now at full capacity and there are arts and culture activities every week for all ages. It generates income for the local council to a sum of £19k per year but more importantly it is home to so many people, organisations and communities.
It still has a long way to go and needs to pay its way, and is often subsidised by CICCIC’s own finances, which is a strain on what can be achieved and what can be delivered. But we are so grateful that we have got this far and when we see the connection, joy, expression and sense of belonging in those who engage with Arts Hub we know we are doing the right thing.
About Creative Innovation Centre CIC
Arts Hub’s is managed by CICCIC, an organisation with a core mission to create the conditions through which art, culture and creativity can flourish. We provide a setting where professional artists and the wider public can create, learn, enjoy, be entertained, and collaborate.
Through an integrated programme of exhibitions, events and learning activity we offer participants a direct and meaningful experience of the arts. We believe the process of creating is as important and valid as the end product, and this principle guides the way we deliver our business plan.
CICCIC not only operates the Arts Hub at Flook House but also operates an arts and cultural centre on the other side of Taunton near the town centre. As a venue and hall this arts and cultural centre offers the public opportunities to experience a wide variety of arts and culture engagement.
This engagement includes events and activities such as live music, art workshops, comedy nights, rehearsal space for bands, community events such as quiz nights, a gallery and exhibition space, private venue hire and a fully licensed bar and café. Visit www.ciccic.co.uk