• The Arc Winchester, the new name for the Winchester Discovery Centre. Hampshire Cultural Trust. © Joe Low.

Winchester Discovery Centre is to be re-named The Arc Winchester when it re-opens in February following the completion of a major £715,000 refurbishment.

The Arc is the result of a partnership between Hampshire County Council and Hampshire Cultural Trust, who will take over operational responsibility for the building from 1 February, with the doors to the newly re-named venue opening to the public on Friday 18 February. The Arc will be a major cultural hub for the city, complementing and enhancing the venue’s existing creative offer, whilst retaining Hampshire’s busiest library at its core, which will re-open under the name Winchester Library.

Paul Sapwell, Chief Executive of Hampshire Cultural Trust, said: ‘Integral to our partnership and the future of Winchester Discovery Centre has been the name of the venue and how it can reflect the broad range of services that we will offer to our many different visitors. The Arc refers to arts, reading and community and perfectly encapsulates our joint vision: a place where people can come together to experience live performance, art, classes, talks and access library and community services all together, under one roof, in the heart of Winchester.

Hampshire County Council’s Executive Member for Recreation, Heritage and Rural Affairs, Councillor Edward Heron, said: ‘2022 marks the start of an exciting new chapter for Winchester Discovery Centre following a major refurbishment and a fresh new look. The Arc will offer an exciting programme of cultural events in a welcoming community space, including improved library facilities. This is great news for Winchester and a boost to our region’s recovery from Covid-19.’

The Arc will open with a brand new programme offering exhibitions, events, classes and live performance for all ages and interests, with a range of both ticketed and free activities. Among the well-known names that will be gracing the venue is TV comedian Gary Delaney, while family theatre for February half term will be on offer from ZooCo with two relaxed performances of Messy. Live music - from regular acoustic nights, to alt folk, classical, big band and swing - features on the programme, alongside library favourites Rhymetime, Storytime and Knit and Natter.

The Gallery at The Arc, which has previously hosted exhibitions showcasing works from major national and international artists such as J.M.W. Turner, will open with a specially curated exhibition dedicated to artist Eric Ravilious. Extraordinary Everyday: The Art & Design of Eric Ravilious features more than 100 artworks and ceramics from 16 UK lenders, including pieces which are rarely seen on public display. Alongside two tours with the exhibition curator, James Russell, Extraordinary Everyday is accompanied by a series of events inspired by Ravilious and his art.

A major new addition to the facilities at The Arc is a brand new Digital Lab, kitted out with state-of-the-art iMacs enabling access to the Adobe Suite and other open-source design software. A programme of workshops - for those looking to brush up on their skills or develop their existing skills further – starts at the beginning of March, with two open days to view the Lab’s facilities being held on 19 and 20 February.

All events are now available to view and book at the The Arc’s website, arcwinchester.org.uk.