A NEW £3.7million cultural venue in Somerset is opening TODAY.

East Quay in Watchet, which was due to open on September 4, will be opening today from noon today (September 20).

The Onion Collective, who has been constructing the complex near Watchet Harbour, said the delay was due to 'labour and supply challenges'.

READ MORE: Opening of East Quay in Watchet delayed due to labour and supply challenges

East Quay is opening for Somerset Art Weeks, with an exhibition called More Together Than Alone.

READ MORE: More than 300 artists take part in Somerset Open Studios 2021

In the building, there will be two contemporary art galleries, 11 artist studios, a paper mill, a geology workshop, print studio, restaurant, education space and five accommodation pods.   

Georgie Grant, Onion Collective co-director said: “East Quay demonstrates how communities can drive regeneration in towns in ways that support the well-being of place, both in terms of people and planet.

"East Quay is exciting because it brings the best, most welcoming and creative thinking of communities, with the professional expertise of business together with the democratic ideology of public life.

"It’s an example of how collaborative, community thinking can lead the way to a better future for our towns."

Guests can explore to the ground and first floors, including galleries, artist studios, restaurant and courtyard space.

The second floor and accommodation pods will be opening later in the year, when the Onion Collective will launch the building in full.

The building is not yet complete, with the lift to the first floor not due to be operational until later this week.

The exhibition, which runs until November 21, artist Neville Gabie will be reflecting on the theme - More Together Than Alone.

"The exhibition is not about the pandemic, but it has certainly been shaped by its presence," added the spokesperson.

"Neville began inviting everyone locally, to express their understanding and feelings of community by creating artworks in bottles.

"Taken from the coastal tradition of ships in bottles, using modest materials at hand, people have embraced the challenge, whatever their age and skill.

"The steady flow of bottles, made by those in Watchet, has become his window into the values, treasured activities, hopes and emotions of the town.

"Contributions depict everything from the absurdity of the annual wheelbarrow race to the much-maligned mud in the harbour.

"From these thoughtful as well as playful contributions, Neville was able to think about community from his personal perspective and they have been instrumental in shaping his own artworks for the exhibition."

Deanna Payne, a performance poet and artist, and Suzanne Lacy, who works with people and the community, will also be showcasing their work.

East Quay is funded by the Coastal Communities Fund, Arts Council England supported through the Government’s Culture Recovery Fund: Cultural Capital Kickstart programme, Heart of the South West LEP’s Getting Building Fund, Magnox Socio-economic Fund and the NDA, Esmée Fairbairn Foundation and the HPC Community Fund. 

Nicholas Serota, chair of Arts Council England, added: “I am delighted to be attending the launch of this extraordinary new development on Watchet quayside.

"East Quay offers so many exciting experiences for the people in West Somerset and the wider region, putting this rural coastal town further on the cultural map while boosting its economy and creating jobs.

"With support from the Arts Council’s Small Capital funding programme and the Government’s Culture Recovery Fund Capital Kickstart, the Onion Collective have successfully led this vibrant community vision to fruition during the pandemic, thanks to their determination and hard work.

"We congratulate them on creating this fantastic new flexible space, which will make a strong contribution to local placemaking by enhancing the area’s cultural credentials as well as providing a hub for the community.”

To find out more about East Quay, visit eastquaywatchet.co.uk.