A bunch of hippies jumping off the roof..

For a bunch of hippies who had faith enough in others to jump off a building and grow their wings on the way down, we haven’t done so bad. But my Dad is ill and The Art House needs some help to get through this summer.As an experiment in how to run a value-driven arts venue, that receives little funding and with a cafe that wins awards for it’s ethics and quality, we’re frankly all amazed to be going still, into our 8th year. Blessings to the thousands of people who have contributed to this achievement – you know who you are, patrons, all. Literally, every tiny action has kept us afloat and allowed us to reach distant shores we wouldn’t have dreamt of when we set out. If you are reading this, this probably means you.. so thank you.

Find out more about our fund here.

The Art House is not quite a business in the usual sense, nor are we quite like any other arts venue. We receive little* external funding, but prefer, instead, to rely upon the patronage of the people / misfits / dreamers who use us. We are here to support and give exposure to grassroots and emerging arts, and to fund this through the income from our cafe. We believe that participation in the arts builds joy, confidence, resilience and community, all things we need now more than ever.

But we go further than this. For us, there should be no burden placed upon people or planet in order for us to be able to do what we do. To this end, all our goods and services are ethically sourced and local where possible.

\\ Organic and vegetarian, means a low burden on the Earth and on people’s health
\\ Fair trade means no burden on the poor
\\ Vegan means no exploitation of animals
\\ Local means money stays here & doesn’t get siphoned off to a head office in London or an offshore account
\\ Secondhand and up-cycled, and renewable energy, means preservation of the biosphere and the planet’s resources

But there is an equation to balance because all the above costs much much more than the uncaring, not heart-centred, alternative. We balance this equation by having volunteers coming forward and giving their time. (Find out about volunteering here – http://thearthousesouthampton.org/volunteer/) They ensure we are able to do all of the above while keeping our prices at an affordable level for as many people as possible to enjoy.

*This works. Nearly all the time! But there is still a (really small) financial gap, and it appears mostly in the summer, much like the antarctic ozone hole. It is just one of those things, and no matter what we try (we’ve tried everything) we just can’t get enough people through the door in the summer and our income drops to precarious levels – we start taking on water. Our income falls short by almost exactly 7% – about £15,000 this year.

[Find out more about our fund here: http://thearthousesouthampton.org/patrons-needed/]

We are SO close to proving this experiment can work! So, what do we normally do? Well, each year we have managed to secure some funding to run projects that address a need in society – we have worked with the learning disabled, people with head injuries and the long term unemployed. And we have closed the gap each time!

This year, however, this can’t happen. Jani and I are going to be looking after my Dad, an Art House volunteer himself, as he has been diagnosed, and is receiving treatment for, inoperable cancer, and that has to take priority. He’s doing pretty well (look at his garden!) But it leaves us with a problem. The Art House is not going to get through the summer shortfall without some help and we’re hoping you can be there for us.


We know many of you would like to come to an event or workshop, or drop in for a meal, but just can’t – you are all busy people, we get that. So would you consider becoming a patron? We are looking for 300 of our friends who can spare £1.25 a week to hold us afloat and close that gap.. plug the leak; keep us steaming along.

Every time someone else becomes a patron, it’s like getting a new buoyancy aid in a choppy sea and gives us energy to get through the day. And everyone who contributes does so in the knowledge that each penny is used wisely and goes directly into making the world a little bit brighter by helping The Art House fill it with more art.

Thanks for reading. See you on the other side.

[Find out more about our fund here: http://thearthousesouthampton.org/patrons-needed/]

About Bik

I am a founding director of a Community Interest Company called The Art House Southampton CIC in the UK. I am a community artist / promoter / facilitator / technologist / general tinkerer! I believe that through the arts, people can rediscover themselves (and thereby reclaim their power.)
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