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Firstsite

Address: High Street | Lewis Gardens, Colchester CO1 1UF, England
Phone Number: +44 1206 577067
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49%
Ranked #3 of 4 Shopping in Colchester
Type: Art Galleries, Shopping
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Attraction details
Owner description: 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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58 reviews from our community

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Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Clacton-on-Sea, United Kingdom
Contributor
20 reviews 20 reviews
9 attraction reviews
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 25, 2014 NEW

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

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Colchester, United Kingdom
Top Contributor
52 reviews 52 reviews
28 attraction reviews
17 helpful votes 17 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 4, 2014

Firstsite is all about contemporary visual arts, and was a controversial place when opened a few years ago due to the costs involved. However, Colchester is a very creative place and needs somewhere like this that has exhibitions, gets people of all ages and abilities involved in art and activities. They show films, presentations, have exhibitions and much more. We've... More

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

Hi Jane, Thanks for your comments, we're really pleased that you enjoyed your visit and have come back to sample all the different things we do. Halloween was really popular, we also have some Christmas events and activities for families, check the website for all the details and we'll look forward to seeing you again soon. More

Norwich, United Kingdom
Senior Contributor
48 reviews 48 reviews
24 attraction reviews
30 helpful votes 30 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 7, 2014

We came across Firstsite by chance, because my husband wanted to look at the group of Scooters gathered nearby. We thought the building was breathtaking and the current exhibition thought provoking. The young ladies talked to us and answered our questions politely and enthusiastically, and explained the artist's thinking which had inspired the artwork on show, in a wide range... More

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

Hi Veronica, We're so glad you enjoyed your recent visit to firstsite, thanks for sharing your experiences! We hope to see you back again soon. More

Essex UK
Top Contributor
324 reviews 324 reviews
68 attraction reviews
363 helpful votes 363 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 2, 2014

I regularly pop in when passing & not just to use loo :) I think we are lucky to have such a great arts centre in Colchester. I'll admit some of the exhibitions may have limited appeal but the current Bruce McLean is very good. However, Firstsite is much more than just exhibitions, it's Free Family Saturdays, Dinky Disco, Live... More

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

Thanks for your kind words Angel! We're really glad you enjoyed your visit to firstsite and look forward to seeing you around the exhibition or at a family event again soon. More

Woodbridge, United Kingdom
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 1, 2014

This is a great gallery and a great piece of architecture. Went to see the Bruce McClean exhibition which was very interesting/challenging. The staff at first site are absolutely great,very knowledgable and engaging and happy to help,unlike some galleries these days. Plus the cafe /restaurant is also very good,good food good value .Highly recommended

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

Hi Chris, So glad you enjoyed your recent visit to firstsite, we look forward to seeing you again soon! More

Colchester, United Kingdom
Senior Contributor
49 reviews 49 reviews
11 attraction reviews
34 helpful votes 34 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed August 24, 2014

Known for years in its planning as 'the visual arts facility' (VAF) 'firstsite' is billed as Colchester’s new contemporary art space." In the centre of the town’s 'cultural quarter'" (Queen Street?! - oh please). This claim ignores the fact that that the building has cost way over £20m for a gigantic white elephant. You might expect a VAF, which had... More

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

Hi Alan, We're sorry you were disappointed by your visit to firstsite recently, we're keen to improve wherever possible and value your comments. firstsite doesn't have a permanent collection, instead exhibitions change every three months. It's a shame that you missed our display of Constable's cloud sketches in 2012, you can read about the exhibition and have a look at... More

Derby, United Kingdom
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 9, 2014

not all exhibitions will suit every space, but this combination is fantastic. The giant paintings hung on the expansive walls can be properly appreciated, and the smaller objects , photos and information are easy to see in the cases and internal room. Look out for the paintings of swimmers, Gucci bags, and the ceramic jugs and then sit with a... More

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

Hi Charbren, So glad you enjoyed your visit to firstsite, we hope to welcome you back soon! More

Norwich, United Kingdom
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 29, 2014

We enjoyed our visit to an outstanding building.It's great that the Town has this iconic new building.The exhibition of Bruce McLean was excellent and well displayed. Let's see more great art here. It's good to be able to see art like this without having to go to London. We will be coming again. Firstsite is an positive addition to the... More

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

Hi Martin, So glad you enjoyed your visit to firstsite recently, we look forward to welcoming you back soon. More

Essex, United Kingdom
Top Contributor
101 reviews 101 reviews
52 attraction reviews
51 helpful votes 51 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed April 23, 2014

Our second visit (after a gap of more than a year) proved to be just as disappointing. Once inside, the first impression is "there's a lot of empty space, with very high ceilings and sloping walls, which couldn't be used for displaying anything of interest". The staff give the impression that the place is an embarrassment to them. Okay, so... More

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

Hi Vic, Many thanks for your feedback and sorry to hear you didn't enjoy your recent visit to firstsite. Our Gallery Assistants are specifically trained to welcome everyone, so many apologies that this is not what you received during your visit. It's a shame that you didn't visit during our Sophie von Hellermann exhibition, in which we used the high,... More

Suffolk UK
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
7 attraction reviews
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed March 27, 2014

We visited Firstsite found it 'odd'. So much money for an art gallery that has very small galleries with large spacial corridors lined with walls that you cannot exhibit on cos they lean. I like contemporary design if it incorporates or reflects its surroundings but this is just a building, in isolation, soulless. Looks cheap. Sad really cos Colchester is... More

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

Hi Sue, Sorry that you didn't enjoy your visit to firstsite. As I'm sure you're aware firstsite has a changing exhibition programme, with each exhibition the building and all it's spaces are used in different ways. I very much recommend that you return to firstsite from 14 May when our summer exhibition (a 40-year survey of Bruce McLean's work) will... More

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