Our History

Today, New Art Exchange is the biggest art organisation in the UK, dedicated to creatives and communities from the Global Ethnic Majority.

It is also the first cultural institution in the world to integrate a permanent citizen assembly as part of its structure and as a core leadership pillar that shapes its neighbourhood initiatives, activities and overall strategy. New Art Exchange also plays the role of a Co-Chair of CVAN England, supporting the sector nationally around the Fair and Equitable agenda.

NAE was formed in 2003 as a new organisation and partnership between APNA Arts and EMACA Visual Arts. APNA Arts focused on South Asian arts and played a key role in the development of the Nottingham Mela, where EMACA Visual Arts supported the development of artists of African/Caribbean origin. Together, these partners created a strong and dynamic new organization to drive the successful development of the New Art Exchange in Hyson Green, Nottingham.

In 2009, New Art Exchange won five architectural and design awards: the RIBA National Award, the RIBA East Midlands Award, The Lord Mayor’s Awards for Urban Design – New Build and Overall Award, and the National Civic Trust Award. In 2010, the New Art Exchange launched and co-hosted the prestigious British Art Show 7, which is widely recognised as the most ambitious and influential exhibition of contemporary British art. In 2011, Floating Coffins, commissioned by NAE in 2008, was bought by Tate and has since been featured in the seminal exhibition Migrations at Tate Britain.

In 2023, as NAE celebrated its 15th anniversary, the organisation also became the most-funded cultural institution in the UK to be led by a Global Ethnic Majority Chief Executive Officer and the fifth-most-funded gallery in the country. This established NAE as a key cultural institution nationally and provided a mandate for its mission, vision, and future ambitions.

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