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Brighton Journal | July 21, 2019

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ONCA’s New Art Space – On Board a Brighton Barge!

ONCA’s New Art Space – On Board a Brighton Barge!
Hannah Midgley

This month ONCA will be opening their second space in the city as they take over a barge at Brighton Marina. Launching on 20th September, the barge will be a dedicated learning and community space that runs events and educational workshops on board all year round!

ONCA is a Brighton charity and gallery that supports local artists and audiences to engage with environmental and social challenges, and the opening of this new barge space marks the start of an exciting new chapter for ONCA.

The venue will provide the community with a fresh space to use, to develop, and to showcase their projects. It will give a distinctive and creative edge to events, be the perfect spot for leading a workshop or hosting rehearsals, and help to support local artists in the community.

This week, Brighton Journal spoke to The Barge venue manager, Ellie Liddell-Crewe, who gave us an insight into ONCA’s new art space – on board a Brighton barge:

ONCA opened their first space in York Place back in 2012, bringing an exciting new spot to that part of the city, did you always want to open a second venue in Brighton? 

Yes this will be our second venue, so its a big but exciting change! We’ve always dreamed of having a space that is suited to running workshops and hosting more unconventional events.

What made ONCA chose a Brighton barge as their second venue?

We actually first came onboard the Barge in the summer of 2017 as part of a summer residency programme, where we ran an epic week of activities and art workshops for families.

ONCA art workshop on the barge. Photo via The Barge at Brighton Marina Facebook page: @thebargeatbrigthonmarina

Could you tell us some more information about the new space on the barge? 

The Barge is ONCA’s brand new dedicated learning & community space at Brighton Marina. ONCA will be running events and educational workshops on board all year-round.

The venue can accommodate up to 120 people across all spaces on the Barge (60 for the lower deck and 60 for the upper deck) in compliance with health and safety. The Barge’s versatile upper deck is wheelchair accessible, with large windows and light floorboards. There is access to basic kitchen facilities, and two wheelchair accessible toilets. The space looks out directly onto the sea and the small fishing boats inside the Marina and is close to local restaurants and amenities. There is also a lower deck space which is ideal for installations, performances and rehearsals.

A flexible and inviting space, The Barge will provide the perfect place for seminars, leading workshops, creative fundraisers, exhibitions, team building, hosting team away days or launch events, and may be configured in a variety of ways.

The Barge is also available for private hire!

ONCA is a charity and gallery, could you tell us some more information about the work ONCA does?

ONCA supports the wellbeing of people and places by increasing awareness of, and engagement with, environmental and social challenges. We are always encouraging artists and audiences to ask big questions about difficult issues.

ONCA has been an important space during some of the city’s biggest festivals, will this project be just the same?

Yes we are already looking at continuing to host city wide events on The Barge as well as in our main gallery space. To kick of October we will have Maker Club on board with us as part of Brighton Digital Festival, Articulate will be on board showing outcomes of a project with Clocktower sanctuary as well as our own workshops for kids as part of Brighton Science Festival.

If you want to keep up to date with everything we have on board then you call follow The Barge at Brighton Marina on Facebook or go on our website and click on: whats on the Barge.

ONCA encourages artists and audiences to ask big questions about difficult issues. Photo via The Barge at Brighton Marina Facebook page: @thebargeatbrigthonmarina

What do you hope to get out of this new space on the Barge?

We hope to not only bring our existing audiences to the Barge but engage with new ones too, we  hope to build greater links with local communities such as Whitehawk.

What are the future plans for this new venue?

At the moment it is very much a versatile community venue and is something that we hope to keep. In the future we may look at developing the lower deck; the larger room into a space more suited to performance, with dreams of turning the smaller room a dedicated artist studio space.

Finally, how can local artists get their work showcased by ONCA?

As well as our own programming like our gallery space, the Barge is available to hire. For all enquiries please contact thebarge@onca.org.uk.

To celebrate the launch of ONCA on The Barge, on 20th September from 6pm to 9pm, ONCA are having a party! Come down to Brighton Marina to celebrate with them, see the space, and have your say on what you’d like to see happening on board from here onwards.

Featured image via O N C A Twitter account: @ONCA_Arts

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