The arts community thinks the Harris Institute should be turned into a "hub" to host Preston's creative talent.
Members of Blue Streak Arts, a collective of 30 artists from the city, want to transform the listed building in Avenham into a facility which would host theatre groups, exhibition space and creative businesses.
They fear the University of Central Lancashire, which owns the building, will sell it to property developers.
A meeting between Preston Council chief executive Jim Carr and university vice-chancellor Malcolm McVicar took place on Tuesday to discuss the future of the building.
Blue Streak spokesman Graham Easterlow, a former UCLan student, said he feared people in Preston had become "tired and annoyed" at the university's attitude towards the city.
He said: "There is a problem between the university and the city in which it is based and hopefully this can be the start of a
healing process between the two.
"You only have to look at other cities to see we are grossly behind others in terms of the artistic facilities we have and this is an opportunity to change that and to save a historic building."