The Bluecoat is Liverpool city centre’s oldest building, and the oldest arts centre in the country. This gorgeous Grade I Listed building was a charity school over 300 years ago. Now it’s a contemporary arts centre that looks forwards to the future and outwards to the world around it.
It’s a welcoming place for artists, art lovers and frazzled parents looking for a coffee and a children’s chillout corner. Its programme of exhibitions and events includes residencies from exciting artists across a number of disciplines. From poetry readings to sculpture to collage, all sorts of contemporary art can be enjoyed here. It’s also a place of work for local artists who rent studios and offices here.
This isn’t art for art’s sake. It’s art in the community, involving the people of Liverpool in creating and making. Community activities range from etching workshops, to after-school clubs, to projects with dementia care homes, and sessions for neurodivergent adults.
There’s a well-regarded bistro open on Friday and Saturday lunchtimes, plus a more casual café and independent shops. The gardens are a delight, all the more so for being unexpected in the centre of Liverpool.