Devin’s thoughts on the fundraiser

Devin joined our paid crew in 2016 as a weekend café co-ordinator and took on an admin role a year later in the midst of a very difficult sudden bereavement. In January 2019 he was appointed as a director. He is a musician, a climate activist, a visible organiser for transgender rights and enthusiastic vegan cook.

“This is it folks. I have personally dreaded and anticipated this moment, where we had to pull the emergency cord. We will not go out without a fight, and if the Southampton community decides The Art House is worth it, we will not go out at all. We haven’t ever existed without a fight, that’s the point really. We fight for the simple pleasure of having an oasis of kindness carved into the sheer face of greed and profit that runs through the heart of this city, through the heart of the hegemonic culture of capitalism.

I have grown so much since working here, I have learnt so much, met so many people. Some days I forget how important it is, stuck in the minutiae of the rota, or people complaining about our prices… But I know how important The Art House has been to people and how important it has been to me. When 2017 happened, my safety net disappeared – and whilst falling I found myself caught by my Art House family. I don’t know where I would be, mentally, physically, financially, without the constant and consistent support I had from the café / kitchen team (Duncan Green, Graham Caisley, Alex Thurley-Ratcliff, Sam Stafford, Katherine O’Neal, Henry Baroche <3) who covered for me, and of course from Jani Franck, Paul Bickmore and Ziggy Woodward – but it’s more than my colleagues, a collective, it’s an idea, it’s a home for those who don’t have a home, a family for those who never had or lost theirs. For the weirdos, for the queerdos, for the people who get stared at on the street to be seen with kinder eyes. That’s what makes the Art House important to me.

We promise to transform ourselves to survive, and serve a changed need from our community, but we just can’t do it without money. Sadly we have rent to pay, we have overheads, underheads, sideheads and behindheads… As Bik often says, if every one of our 18,000 page followers gave £1, we’d be doing a lot better. Please share this, please give your own words when you do about why it’s important to save The Art House. This is our last stand folks. Save The Art House”

About janifranck

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