A new home for the contemporary visual arts in Leicester is edging ever closer with the news that Arts Council England has agreed to provide £600,000 towards the capital costs of the project.

The New Galleries Wing will be an extension to Embrace Arts, the University’s multi-purpose arts centre at the Richard Attenborough building on Lancaster Road. It will feature interconnected spaces to increase access for audiences and thereby add value to the already vibrant arts ecology in the city.

According to the schedule, this new wing will be opened by early 2015, providing the University of Leicester can raise the remaining £900,000 of the £1.5 million cost.

“This is a significant – and very welcome – milestone for the project,” commented Professor Sir Robert Burgess, the University’s Vice-Chancellor. “We are extremely grateful to Arts Council England for its endorsement of our vision to create a national centre of excellence for inclusive arts practice in Leicester, to be enjoyed by local people and visitors to the city alike.”

Peter Knott, Director, Arts Council England, said: “Embrace Arts has a strong history of promotion and engagement by and for disabled people in the arts but its current exhibition space is extremely limited. Our investment, which is conditional on the rest of the funding being secured, will allow Embrace to build two flexible gallery spaces and a sculpture court.”

“The original plans for the building had allowed for a more ambitious gallery space than was possible at the time,” explained Embrace Arts co-director Michaela Butter, “so we are delighted that we can now take that vision forward 17 years since it first opened.

“In developing our plans, we have worked closely with other visual arts providers, artists, community groups, disabled people and others. We will continue to do so, to ensure we create a great place where everyone can enjoy and get involved in high-quality arts.”

For more information visit embracearts.co.uk