THE second half of the development houses a community space and cafe as well as shared office facilities and offices for the creative industries.
A £6million transformation has seen the site of the former Inverness Royal Academy building in Midmills transformed into the largest creative facility of its kind in the Highlands.
The first phase was completed in 2018, which created 30 studio spaces for artists.
The opening is marked by a new exhibition, Home & Away, which will be presented until the end of May.
Wasps President and CEO Audrey Carlin was thrilled to officially open the building.
“There have been so many people who have helped us and provided us with guidance, advice and support and are now involved in the creative academy here,” she said. “It was all about welcoming our creative tenants into the building and we’ve already had over 10,000 visitors through the door.
“It’s a creative installation that the Highlands badly need.
“I’m sure you’ll agree that we exceeded expectations in a design context and it no longer feels like an assembly hall. Delivering this during a pandemic was not something anyone could have anticipated. We are proud of what has been accomplished.
“Thank you to all of our artists and creative tenants. It’s really all about you now. But today is not just about celebrating the conversion of these buildings, it is also about the creative talent that lies here in the Highlands.
“At a local level, Inverness Creative Academy is there to support an already vibrant creative community ready to play its part in attracting people to the city centre, providing a destination to engage in art and creativity as well as to enjoy a good coffee at our wonderful new café.
“Nationally, this facility is already attracting talent and exciting new creative businesses to come, stay and grow in the Highlands, contributing to the region’s unique identity. And across the UK, this installation is already inspiring and nurturing the next generation of artists and creative entrepreneurs in the creative economy, one of the fastest growing economic sectors in the UK.
Heritage remains a key part of the project, and a time capsule created by students from Crown Elementary School is buried in front of the buildings.
MP Drew Hendry added: ‘It’s a place of huge social significance in terms of heritage and a place in Inverness. It is truly a living testimony to what can be achieved if people with a vision come together to step forward and make it happen.
“It has been absolutely vital for the community to support this project. It’s an important meeting space where people can get together again and share a coffee about their day, meet friends and what a great time for this opening.
“It’s an asset to the whole of the Highlands and the art space that was badly needed.”