In 2004 I bought a military gymnasium from 1892. The building was over 500m2 so I decided to invite creative business to share the space. As the gym hall is Grade One Listed, I was unable to change or adapt the exterior or interior. In collaboration with the architectural conservator of South Troms region, Olaf Austlid, we decided to construct a building inside a building. My design was developed by architect Jim Myrstad in Harstad and built by Nilsen & Haukeland Construction. I believe that due in part to the incredible support and experience of business manager, Lillian Mathisen, I was able to open in 2006. In 2012 I sold it and the new owners committed themselves to protect the ethos and concept, and it is still today A:rt Gymsal.
"A:RT GYMSAL is a unique creative and economic project that brings together, inside an historic building, a diverse group of creative practitioners and businesses. These business are manifold and include, interior design, cultural economic consultancy, fine arts, photography, advertising, graphic design, events arranging, textile and jewellery design, journalism and web programming.
Ultimately creative, it i s a surprising and expansive dialogue between materials of different types. Glass reflects raw steel, crystal lights stone. A working, living sculpture, a creative hive that transmits it’s energy and visions far beyond the material existence of the building and yet exists because of it. A:RT GYMSAL is creative dialogue and visionary ideas realised. It can shift shape and respond to environments from international board - room to private studio. It is to be learnt from, copied and developed. A:RT GYMSAL is inspirational." CLARE CARSWELL.