Our newest Director, Devin, has been doing an (almost) daily reason why he thinks The Art House is worth saving.
#1 We are one of very few places offering young people work experience where they are treated as equals and truly valued.
Reason #2: Puppies, birbs, lizards and cool cats all welcome – we have had many regular non-human café volunteers and office helpers. Where else could I work with a parrot? I have seen so many cute puppies. So many.
Reason #3: our queer af vibe – there are very few other places in the city I feel so comfortable being completely myself and I know I’m not alone
Reason #4 ….We have offered a little slice of safety to many who, for whatever reason, find their home life to be difficult or unsafe. There is absolutely no way to put a price on that, to see the relief in someone when they know they can just sit down and relax somewhere.
Reason #5: what other job in Soton could I have where I could stand up for the Earth as much as I can at The Art House?
Reason #6 to save The Art House: All the beautiful, amazing local artists who play at our place, some of whom you will see at this event… So many artists (Hunting Hearts included) have debuted at our humble art abode, somewhere comfortable to present that vulnerable first version of your creative self in a warm and welcoming environment
Reason #7: We are a sanctuary for the community when we are all hurting; be it for Transgender Day of Remembrance, or a difficult day politically, we open our arms and our teapots. A place of comfort in trying times.
Reason #8: A place for art on the walls – somewhere local artists can display and sell their art, learn how to exhibit and get tips on how to move up to bigger exhibitions and galleries
Reason #9: Sometimes a little dog called Alfie visits and he’s very cute. Our regular customers (human and non-human) and volunteers are like having a very weird and wonderful extended family
Reason #10: My wonderful colleagues, past and present – dear friends, kind souls. I have been happy to get to know them, and would be happy to continue to meet the kind of people bold enough to work here
Reason #11: The décor – homely, slightly wonky, built, adjusted, fixed and patched with love and gumption – the things we wish we had time to fix, and the ingenious solutions to ridiculous problems. But not the leaky roof
Reason #12: That our ethics permeates every aspect of our running, be it how little waste we produce, or what bank we use… From our energy supplier, to what we stock in our crafts, to where we order our booze and food from – we consider the source. Arms dealers, in our bank? No thank you! Anywhere we can, we reject cruelty and abuse to any creature at the expense of profit or convenience. We are not perfect, but we try as hard as we can to reduce suffering with our decisions.
Reason #13: The vegan roast dinners – a wholesome, filling and homemade staple of any Sunday. I spent a year having a roast every Sunday here when I was first a co-ordinator and it was certainly one of the highlights of that year!
Reason #14: I can come in to work wearing whatever I want! You can come in and eat a falafel wearing whatever you want! I would like more time to explore my dreams of dressing more like a foppy dandy pirate.
Reason #15: Our offsite events – we have a regular spot at the South Downs Green Fayre, which is without fail an exhausting but fun adventure in the sun, usually involving scrummy burgers of some description (hot dogs last year actually) and definitely not any accidental pyrotechnics, ever
Reason #16: My karaoke nights – usually held for departing staff members when there is time to do so, always a raucous and joyful event that ends in a big group sing along to something appropriately ridiculous
Reason #17: The CAKE – I am not a big cake or chocolate person, but our cake is the best cake I’ve ever had, vegan or otherwise. Known for missing breakfast at home, you may often find me having a slice in the morning and it ain’t done me no ‘arm so far