SCHOOLS in Bruton have welcomed plans to open a contemporary arts centre and gallery in the town.
Plans are afoot to transform the 18th Century Grade II listed buildings at Durslade Farm into a free arts attraction.
The former stables and workshops will also form a library and education space.
Wayne Spilsbury, head of art and design at King's School, said: "I am massively excited.
"As the successful Somerset Arts Week demonstrated, this part of the world has a deep, rich vein of creativity running through it and I would expect great interest in this enterprise from schools and the local community alike.
"The prospect of seeing a locally-based prestigious contemporary arts centre will be of great value, not just to our artists, but also to those studying art history – where contemporary gallery issues form part of our A2 course."
Nicola Botterill, headmistress of Bruton School for Girls, said: "It will benefit our young people enormously, further raising the profile of art and creativity in the region as well as boosting the local economy.
"At Bruton School for Girls, we have excellent partnerships with Bruton Art Society and Somerset Art Weeks already.
"Living in a hotbed of creativity provides our girls with opportunities to develop essential skills alongside their traditional education."
The farm site was been purchased by Iwan and Manuela Wirth, who have opened similar galleries in Zurich, New York and London.
Alice Workman, who is leading the project as director of Hauser & Wirth Somerset, said: "We will be bringing international contemporary art to Somerset, and the gallery and its artists will share their knowledge and passion with audiences through education.
"The gallery will also be a place for visitors to discover history, architecture, gardens and landscape, all brought together through contemporary art to inspire a range of activities and events.
"We are already beginning to form partnerships with local schools and we hope to develop a network across the region."