What makes us different

Things The Art House does differently as a nonprofit arts space as opposed to a commercial café – aka why we need donations on top of our café revenue to fund our space:

* We provide space to groups to use on an ability to pay basis, often free or by donation, and never make using our space conditional on buying something for anyone (we do obviously encourage those who can afford to chip in to do so!). Our space is here for art and community, not profit.

* We prioritise ethics over money in every business decision we make.

* Our space prioritises comfort, accessibility, quiet areas, flexible seating and mixed purpose space over cramming in as many customers as we can.

* We buy organic, local and fairtrade as much as we can, which is a lot – not just a few token items for marketing purposes.

* We ensure, although we aren’t puritanical about it, that we use wholefoods, offer non alcoholic drinks in abundance and minimise fats, sugars and salt in our dishes. In a world where fast food sells, this isn’t always what gets the crowds in. You are never going to feel that slightly nauseous sense of regret after eating a meal here 😉

* We have always had the largest proportion of our menu as vegan, even when it was not trendy and at a time when it put us at a business disadvantage. We will keep doing it whatever the market does.

We could talk more about how we run and how all the business books say not to run that way (we hardly do anything the business books say to do, frankly), but we hope this helps.

Capitalism is a hostile environment for a truly ethical space. We need all the help we can get to survive it.

Donations from our supporters and the contributions of volunteers are what make it possible for us to model a new way of providing communal space for creativity, and we thank everyone who ‘gets’ this and makes it possible for us to exist!

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About janifranck

Artist, activist, founding director of The Art House in Southampton.
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