CHRISTMAS OFFER Subscribe to EADT Suffolk today CLICK HERE

Eye bank’s new arts role

PUBLISHED: 11:18 23 June 2014 | UPDATED: 16:33 23 June 2014

Feature for Suffolk Magazine about The Bank arts centre/performance venue at Eye which is run entirely by volunteers. Left to right, Jules Talbot (music manager) and Amy Hidey (co-curator).

Feature for Suffolk Magazine about The Bank arts centre/performance venue at Eye which is run entirely by volunteers. Left to right, Jules Talbot (music manager) and Amy Hidey (co-curator).

Volunteers have transformed a disused bank in Eye into a thriving community cultural centre. David Green reports on their bid to buy the building and make it a permanent home for the arts

Feature for Suffolk Magazine about The Bank arts centre/performance venue at Eye which is run entirely by volunteers.Feature for Suffolk Magazine about The Bank arts centre/performance venue at Eye which is run entirely by volunteers.

Counting the beats is now more important in a building where cashiers once counted money.

Volunteers have transformed the former HSBC Bank in a Suffolk town into an arts centre where music and theatre are performed and classes held in painting, drawing and pottery.

And with income from an integral café and the rental income for language courses and therapy sessions, the centre looks to have a secure future, especially if money can be raised to buy the building, currently leased.

The bank, in the main street at Eye, is thought to have been established in the early 1900s and had been closed for six years when, 18 months ago, volunteers began to convert it into an arts centre – fittingly called The Bank.

Feature for Suffolk Magazine about The Bank arts centre/performance venue at Eye which is run entirely by volunteers.Feature for Suffolk Magazine about The Bank arts centre/performance venue at Eye which is run entirely by volunteers.

Rebecca Lyne, one of the leading figures behind the project, is passionate about providing a creative and stimulating atmosphere where it is easy for people to gain access to the full spectrum of the arts.

Indeed, the main part of the building not only serves as a performance area but also a café. As you drink your tea or coffee you can look at the paintings and sketches on the wall and the sculptures also on show.

Those who visited the building, for whatever reason, were recently invited to contribute to a wall-hung work of art, regardless of ability, just for the sake of creating a communal image.

Sculptures are also displayed in the permanently opened safes – left behind when the bank branch closed.

Counters at which members of the public once conducted their business with cashiers have found new life for the café and bar and working surfaces for art.

The former manager’s office (distinctive because it has two radiators, one more than anywhere else!) is now used for foreign language and creative writing classes and by massage therapists.

Down in the basement, the bank’s “strong room” has been converted into a sound and video studio while the former staff offices have been transformed into further exhibition space.

Indeed, wherever you roam in this Grade II listed building, works of art look out at you.

“When we moved in some of the ceilings had collapsed and the floor downstairs had to be replaced. We had 25 volunteers doing repairs and improvement work in the first phase and another 20 in the second phase,” said Rebecca, a sculptor who lives a few miles away at Brockdish.

There, she and her partner and fellow sculptor, Chris Parr – also a director of the new not-for-profit community interest company which runs the art centre – have created a “sculpture meadow” behind their home.

It is an area of gentle hillside where works of art are set out in the open – in the midst of the countryside, and you can walk by or just sit and gaze.

“We’ve always been passionate about making art inclusive and here in Eye we can make it accessible in a less intimidating and more relaxed environment than a normal gallery,” Rebecca said.

“The whole point of what we do is building on the heritage we have here; finding ways of to integrate that and make it relevant,” she added.

Workshops are available at The Bank on portraiture, drawing, acrylics, pottery, fused glass, song writing, creative writing, puppet making, animation and several other art forms.

Rebecca said classes were run by experienced tutors in a friendly, relaxed atmosphere and provided an opportunity to meet like-minded people while developing creative skills.

“We try to celebrate the whole breadth of art for all ages, abilities and tastes,” she said.

For further information go to www.thebankeye.org or telephone 01379 873495.

More from Out & About

Tue, 13:26

Beccles & District Museum in Sir John Leman’s House high above the River Waveney, was home to an historic free school for over 350 years | Words & Photos: Lindsay Want

Read more
Tuesday, October 9, 2018

There’s nowhere quite like Suffolk during the festive period with so many different places putting you right in the Christmas spirit. Here are 10 great places for you to shop, stay and visit

Read more
Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Make sure there’s plenty of battery on your camera, you’re going to be doing a lot of snapping. We’ve picked 18 places in Suffolk where you can find the very best views

Read more
Tuesday, October 2, 2018

It may be Suffolk’s coastal towns and villages that largely get all the attention but our county town has been one Britain’s most important port locations and has an incredibly rich culture and heritage. Here are 24 reasons you should love Ipswich

Read more
Tuesday, October 2, 2018

We’re lucky to have such a diverse selection of towns and villages in Suffolk to explore, experience and live in. Here are 9 must-see streets to consider for your next journey round the county.

Read more
Friday, September 28, 2018

Lindsay Want treads the ancient paths of pilgrims and mighty barons between Castle Hedingham and Clare

Read more
Tuesday, September 25, 2018

The Suffolk coast is a fantastic place to explore, whatever the season. So, whether you love sinking your toes into sandy beaches, cycling quiet country lanes, going off the beaten walking track, watching wildlife, soaking up some local history, or simply wandering around charming coastal towns, there’s plenty to keep everyone happy.

Read more
Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Lindsay Want steps into the artist’s iconic painting of 18th century Bulmer couple Mr & Mrs Andrews

Read more
Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Do you know your Bawdseys from your Blakeneys and your Cromers from your Covehithes? Take our quiz to test your knowledge of the Suffolk and Norfolk coast!

Read more
Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Sitting pretty along the coast and moving a little way in land, Suffolk is home to some wonderful towns and villages perfect for a weekend away, day trip or even a summer staycation

Read more

Newsletter Sign Up

EADT Suffolk Magazine regular newsletter
Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy


Topics of Interest

Food and Drink Directory

Local Business Directory

Search For a Car In Your Area

Property Search