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Address: High Street | Lewis Gardens, Colchester CO1 1UF, England
Phone Number: +44 1206 577067
Website
Today
10:00 am - 7:00 pm
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Hours:
Sun 11:00 am - 5:00 pm
Mon - Sat 10:00 am - 7:00 pm
Description: Firstsite is a visual arts organisation based in Colchester, Essex...
Firstsite is a visual arts organisation based in Colchester, Essex. Firstsite's stunning golden building was designed by the Uruguayan architect Rafael Vinoly, and opened in September 2011. The gallery initiates world-class exhibitions by established and emerging artists, produces publications, and has extensive learning opportunities and artists' support initiatives. Over the last fifteen years firstsite has gained a strong reputation by presenting ambitious work to new audiences in the East of England and beyond.
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TripAdvisor Reviewer Highlights

Read all 67 reviews
Visitor rating
  • 17
    Excellent
  • 13
    Very good
  • 8
    Average
  • 11
    Poor
  • 18
    Terrible
Stunning architecture housing mediocre exhibitions

A building of this quality could form a marvelous backdrop to some stunning art. Unfortunately all it served to spotlight today was the paucity of invention on display here. By... read more

3 of 5 starsReviewed March 30, 2015
futtock21
,
London, United Kingdom
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67 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

Date | Rating
  • English first
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English first
London, United Kingdom
Top Contributor
305 reviews 305 reviews
34 attraction reviews
188 helpful votes 188 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed March 30, 2015 NEW

A building of this quality could form a marvelous backdrop to some stunning art. Unfortunately all it served to spotlight today was the paucity of invention on display here. By far the worst offender was an installation by one Carla Zaccagnini entitled "Elements of Beauty." It comprises a room full of empty frames with numbers each apparently the precise size... More 

Was this review helpful? Yes
colchester
Top Contributor
98 reviews 98 reviews
25 attraction reviews
57 helpful votes 57 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed March 24, 2015 NEW

I think the Art displays have been poor but like the auditorium and have seen some good films there. Cafe was good but service slow and looked out over very dismal waste land. More could be made of this area. Some good kids activities on offer.

Was this review helpful? Yes
firstsite, Public Relations Manager at Firstsite, responded to this review

Hi, I'm sorry to hear your visit to Firstsite last December didn't meet your expectations. I do hope you'll consider returning now we have fully reopened. The current exhibitions Carla Zaccagnini: Elements of Beauty and The Parliament of Things feature international artists working in a wide range of artforms. The ENAS Studio Shots exhibition showcases work from regional artists as... More 

Colchester, United Kingdom
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
3 attraction reviews
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
1 of 5 stars Reviewed March 24, 2015

I went to 'see' the new art exhibition 'Elements of Beauty' at the Firstsite "Visual" Arts Facility. On entering the gallery one is presented by a series of empty frames and the opportunity to look at the exhibition via an audio guide. If this were a new idea it might be interesting and engaging - but I encountered more or... More 

Was this review helpful? Yes
firstsite, Public Relations Manager at Firstsite, responded to this review

Hi Alex, I'm sorry to hear that you were disappointed by your recent visit to Firstsite. As you mentioned, contemporary visual art can take many forms and Carla Zaccagnini's Elements of Beauty aims to encourage the visitor to think about the wider context of the Suffragette movement through the audio guide, something the damaged paintings themselves (in their now restored... More 

Colchester
Contributor
16 reviews 16 reviews
5 attraction reviews
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed February 22, 2015

Basically a white elephant with too much space and too little to see. Does have a nice auditorium and occasionally work by local artists

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firstsite, Public Relations Manager at Firstsite, responded to this review

Hi I'm sorry to hear you didn't have a good experience at Firstsite recently. As you may have realised when you visited, we had no exhibition programme at the time. We have now fully reopened so as well as seeing our spring exhibitions: Carla Zaccagnini: Elements of Beauty and The Parliament of Things, you can also sample our new Terrace... More 

Colchester, United Kingdom
Top Contributor
54 reviews 54 reviews
16 attraction reviews
38 helpful votes 38 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed February 18, 2015

I had such high hopes of this venue. It is a stunning building and had a good cafe until the people that ran it recently pulled out. Because it is a modern arts facility it does not have enough scope. The films put on are very good but the advertising so poor you don't know what is on unless you... More 

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firstsite, Public Relations Manager at Firstsite, responded to this review

Hi Penny, I'm sorry to hear that you didn't enjoy your recent visit to Firstsite. As you probably realised, we are not fully open while we carry out essential maintenance and install our new exhibitions, during this time we have also had a temporary cafe run by our young people's group Y.A.K. I'm sorry you didn't see our leaflets at... More 

Colchester, United Kingdom
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
5 attraction reviews
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed January 22, 2015

We went to Firstsite to see the screening of the National Theatre's 'Treasure Island' which was great. However, the auditorium was chilly (I ended up wearing my thick winter coat throughout), my seat was faulty and so it was like sitting in a deckchair, there were technical issues with the transmission (for which there was an apology) but it was... More 

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firstsite, Public Relations Manager at Firstsite, responded to this review

Hi, I'm so sorry to hear you had a bad experience at our screening of Treasure Island last weekend. Would you be able to email me at info@firstsite.uk.net with your original seat number and name so that we are able to rectify the problems and perhaps offer you some compensation for your disappointing evening. Thank you. More 

Essex
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed December 10, 2014

As we had a french relative staying with us and we had never visited Firsite, we took a trip into Colchester to visit it. What we found was a cafe, a gift shop and a Christmas display. We were told by a helpful member of staff that First Site did not have any art right now. This left us rather... More 

Was this review helpful? Yes 4
firstsite, Public Relations Manager at Firstsite, responded to this review

Dear sistaEssex, We're sorry to hear that you were disappointed by your visit to firstsite last week. We've tried to publicise as widely as possible that we have a gap in our exhibition programme until March next year while we carry out some maintenance, and recruit a new catering provider. In the meantime as you saw, we have a pop-up... More 

Colchester, United Kingdom
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
5 attraction reviews
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 7, 2014

A great place which lifts ones heart. Yes, some of the exhibitions are demanding and some I have not especially warmed to, but it is great to stretch ones brain. The Bruce McLean exhibition was something very special not least because of the very valuable guided tours provided by firstsite staff. Keep up the good work!

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firstsite, Public Relations Manager at Firstsite, responded to this review

Hi Jonathan, Thank you for your glowing review! We're so glad you enjoyed our most recent exhibition and your tour with our very knowledgeable staff. Don't forget to visit our Organs and Oysters display until Thursday and the Butterfly Effect exhibition with pupils from a local SEN school. Thanks again for your support. More 

Colchester, United Kingdom
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
3 attraction reviews
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
1 of 5 stars Reviewed November 29, 2014

I went to see the Bruce McLean exhibition before the Art Gallery closes for it's rethink. Given that this exhibition has been the only art display in the gallery for the last 6 months I thought they might have done a better job spending time explaining and interpreting the art on show. Although the building is smart, modern and clean,... More 

Was this review helpful? Yes 1
firstsite, Public Relations Manager at Firstsite, responded to this review

Hi Alex, I'm sorry that you didn't enjoy your visit to firstsite over the weekend. As you mentioned, this is a time of change for us and we hope that we will be able to address concerns about interpretation, the gallery spaces and the café, among other things while we are closed. The University Space is no longer used to... More 

Clacton-on-Sea, United Kingdom
Senior Contributor
24 reviews 24 reviews
10 attraction reviews
15 helpful votes 15 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 25, 2014

I think it was Mark Twain who said there is no such thing as bad publicity; I remember well the controversy surrounding the building and opening this site on the old bus station. I'm not sure how this will be viewed in decades to come but I've been a couple of times and would recommend Firstsite to anyone visiting the... More 

Was this review helpful? Yes
firstsite, Public Relations Manager at Firstsite, responded to this review

Hi James, Thanks for your comments, we're glad to hear you have enjoyed visiting firstsite. Although the current café will be closing after Sunday, we are simply changing catering supplier, so a new café will open soon. In the meantime, do visit our extended Christmas shop and festive activities throughout December! Thanks again for your support. More 

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