3 (and half) Reasons Why You Should Visit Firstsite Colchester.

FirstSite Colchester tranquil interior. Pic Courtesy FirstSite.

FirstSite Colchester tranquil interior. Pic Courtesy FirstSite.

Firstsite Colchester Is Colchester’s Open Secret.

You’ve all been to Firstsite Colchester right? No? well, I’m not surprised. The other day, I was trying to hook up with a friend when I texted him to meet me at Firstsite. He replied saying he didn’t know where Firstsite was.

The first time I visited Firstsite was completely by accident too. It was on one of those days I needed to kill time and it wasn’t going to be in any of the overcrowded public places. I needed something else. So I drove around a little and spotted it…Colchester’s answer to Tate.

A few days later, my friend called me and described his experience of visiting the place. “Its fantastic,” I think he said amidst excitable rants. That’s actually the best way to describe the place… Fantastic. So why not write a post about this fantastic place right?

Here are 3(and half) reasons why you should visit Firstsite Colchester.

Arts? What Arts? While the purpose of the building itself is to exhibit art from across the world, some people actually go there for its serenity, and it is very serene. Firstsite is no pretender though and never tried to be –  it’s a modern arts gallery first and foremost. Love art or hate it, (although they really want you to like it) they have invested a lot in appealing also to non-art lovers. For art lovers its heaven, for non-art lovers the latest art on display is actually a bonus. Basically, it doesn’t placate only to art lovers. Did I mention that entry is free of charge? I didn’t? Well it is.

Community and Family: Firstsite is also a spot for diversity. It’s a place where culture meets art and that fact is lost on many. For art lovers, Firstsite displays art curated from across the world, and they do so really well. Presently (March 2017) they are hosting work by Chinese artist Zhang Enli. Not only that, during the year there are numerous events for children and families as well as workshops and seminars from various Community interest groups and Multicultural organisations. Earlier this month, Firstsite hosted the first Women’s Conference organised by AFiUK  a local charity (I tried wearing a dress to attend but got spotted at the door. I think my hairy legs gave it away). There was also the Syrian pop-up Cafe organised by Refugee Action which saw a large crowd attend to sample Syrian food in support of the crisis in Syria. Firstsite has also offered its space to local religious groups; Yes! Churches and Mosques, you didn’t know that right?. Basically, think up a community inspired worthy cause and Firstsite has either hosted it or about to host it. As part of their community inclusion, they now host We Walk The Line tea and coffee shop. We walk the line is a social enterprise that employ, empower and educate young (or disadvantaged) people who need a second chance to become self-sufficient by helping them set up their own coffee business.

Central to Colchester’s redevelopment: Firstsite is set to enhance its status as the ‘IT’ place in Colchester as that part of town will soon have a new boutique cinema which will make the area around Firstsite Colchester’s creative quarter. There are also plans for a food court and further exciting upcoming developments in the area.

So there you go, if your Londoner friends tell you about Tate Modern, tell them about Firstsite, Colchester’s open secret. Apart from the welcoming, tranquil environment, they also have very friendly staff who don’t give you the evils when you walk around in noisy heels or if your kids let out a shriek(or two). One can only give kudos to the management of this fantastic place, they do such a brilliant job.

What are you waiting for? If you have nothing to do in Colchester or are simply stuck of ideas on where to go, choose Firstsite. Take your laptop if you have one and write an article (like I just did) or do some school work (they got free WiFi) or take a stroll and enjoy the art on display or just sit in the new coffee shop and watch Colchester roll by; just visit Firstsite, if you have visited, visit again. Keep visiting, you’ll thank me later.

Oh by the way, the building is simply breathtaking (that’s the ‘half reason’ I mentioned in my title)

Kole Obasa

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