Pacific Road Business Hub returned to its roots as a former arts centre when it hosted the launch of The Cube and the opening of The Dark Side Art Lab. The Dark Side is a cross-communities and inclusive collaborative arts initiative launched by FINSA and in collaboration with artist, John Hyatt, Professor/Head of The Institute of Art and Technology at Liverpool John Moores University. Over the coming months more and more projects, exhibitions and events will be unveiled by The Dark Side which opened in May, and has also taken a unit within the Pacific Road Business Hub for the inaugural exhibition, Sea, Air and Wrecks, a series of new Wirral-inspired paintings, depicting the bright side of the Dark Side. The Cube is a project sponsored by FINSA and designed by architects and occasional tutors at the Liverpool School of Art and Design, Ed Butler and Dan Wiltshire of WMBstudio. Originally commissioned by Spanish timber product manufacturer FINSA, the project was used as an exhibition stand for the KBB 2018 event at Birmingham NEC, and is part of FINSA’s push to directly connect designers, manufacturers and makers. The wooden pavilion, the first of three set for Wirral, has been erected at the Pacific Road Business Hub by students of Wirral Met College, will become an exhibiting and project venue in the months to come, a unique collaboration between arts, manufacturing and education, supported by Wirral Chamber of Commerce as a part of Wirral Borough of Culture 2019. Open for viewing Monday – Friday 11am-4pm Rafael Willisch Managing Director at Finsa UK commented on its support for the arts, saying, “FINSA will be supporting Wirral Borough of Culture with three pavilions throughout 2019. The Cube pavilion will be hosting exhibitions from different artists from May to September. Looking ahead, the Woodside Pavilion is part of the International FINSA Award for Architects and the winning design project will be built in the Woodside Ferry Village area for a short period of time to host community events. The third will be the “Wooden Parliament” pavilion, which after being part of the London Festival of Architecture, will be moved to Birkenhead Park where it will reside until the end of the year. These pavilions will be used to host events curated by John Hyatt as part of The Dark Side Programme.” Dark Side creator John Hyatt said, “If people don’t know what something is they use the word ‘dark’, like ‘Dark Energy’ and ‘Dark Matter’ – veiled, hidden, powerful and important. When I moved to Wallasey everyone in Liverpool said, “Oh, yer movin’ to The Dark Side, are yuh?” When I wanted to contribute a series of arts projects to Wirral Borough of Culture in collaboration with FINSA, the umbrella title of ‘The Dark Side’ was hard to avoid. Over the coming year, the aim of The Dark Side initiative is to help enervate, reveal and profile Wirral’s living treasures: her energetic people, artists, projects, products and cultures. The Dark Side shines a light on itself.” Paula Basnett, CEO, Wirral Chamber of Commerce, said, “We were very positive that we should support and add to the recognition Wirral has received as Borough of Culture 2019, therefore, we offered the use of the Pacific Road Business Hub as the base for both The Cube and The Dark Side exhibition. We are delighted that a strong partnership has been formed between Wirral Chamber of Commerce, Finsa, Wirral Met College, Wirral Council, LJMU and John Hyatt in adding these creative arts to Wirral’s extensive and exciting schedule of events taking place during 2019 as the Borough of Culture.” Lucy Barrow, Assistant Director for Culture and Visitor Economy at Wirral Council, echoes this view, “Wirral is proud to be the Liverpool City Region’s Borough of Culture for 2019, providing a unique platform to promote the borough on a regional, national and international stage. I am absolutely delighted that the Borough of Culture is being celebrated and supported by so many of our local organisations and businesses and this wonderful collaboration between Wirral Chamber of Commerce, Wirral Met College, FINSA and John Hyatt is an outstanding example of what can happen when partners come together. The creative space provided by The Cube and the opportunity to showcase incredible work such as John Hyatt’s are fantastic additions to what is on offer as part of our Borough of Culture year.” In building The Cube at the Pacific Road Business Hub, Wirral Met College students played a key role in its construction, with Sue Higginson, Principal at Wirral Met College, adding, ‘”I am so proud of our construction students who have built this fantastic structure, The Cube, and of their tutors and staff team who nurture their talent. At Team Wirral Met we are delighted to contribute to our special year as Wirral’s Borough of Culture and we really appreciate the partnership work from FINSA in making this happen, Wirral Chamber of Commerce for hosting this exciting installation and Wirral Council’s Culture Team for another great initiative.” The Dark Side Art Lab opens with an inaugural exhibition, John Hyatt: Sea, Air and Wrecks, a series of new Wirral-inspired paintings, depicting the bright side of the Dark Side. The glorious light of the sea and air of Wallasey imbues the paintings with an intensity of light, colour and spirit, with the carcasses of boats poking out of the shifting sands of time hint at a darker past of beached ships salvaged by Wreckers. Open for public viewing 11.00am – 5pm Thursdays and Fridays. The Dark Side has a lot of projects in the pipeline, working with kids, communities, students, local and international artists, musicians, architects, and storytellers on workshops, conversations, competitions, exhibitions, football, public art, shadow museums, alien invasions, fairy festivals, pavilions for Birkenhead Park and Woodside and more besides.