Our Story

It all started with a text message, one of those moments where everything changes in an instant!

In 2007, a commercial art gallery in Southampton, one which already showcased local art, was about to close.

Together, with help from friends, the four founders (Bik, Jani, Nina and Ziggy) formed a voluntary not-for-profit organisation and took over the running of the space, adding food and drink, crafts, clothing, more events and groups to what was on offer.

The aims of the organisation were (and still are!):-

To PROMOTE all the arts.
To ENHANCE our local & global community.
To ENCOURAGE positive, healthy and sustainable living.

In April 2008 The Art House became a Community Interest Company, a new type of social enterprise.

The venture took off and grew so rapidly that the space soon became too small!

In March 2009, The Art house moved to it’s current location on Above Bar Street, in the new ‘Cultural Quarter’.

Since then, The Art House has blossomed into an established arts venue, workshop and meeting space, all underpinned, and funded, by a cafe serving high quality food and drink.

During the Covid lockdown in 2020, we added to our project a community pantry – taking in supermarket surplus and donations from our community to share food, reduce food poverty and tackle waste. You can find out more about the pantry here.

The crew share a common passion for the environment and for social justice.

Sustainability and ethical choices have always been at the heart of what The Art House does.

When you visit, you will find a space that is quirky, welcoming and utterly one of a kind, just like the people who spend time here!

It’s a place where those who are looking for something a little out of the ordinary will be wonderfully surprised.  A place where each individual is welcomed warmly and respected for their own uniqueness.

There are some big ideas at work, too.  The project is just one part of a growing, global movement for social and environmental justice.

By coming in to visit, you’re not just having coffee, doing a workshop or watching some live music, you are taking part in a worldwide groundswell which is really rather life-changing.

The butterfly on The Art House logo expresses this so well.  It’s a symbol both of the emergence of creativity and passion that happens here, the beauty of transforming our own lives to embrace our fullest potential, and the way that small actions can make a big, big difference in the world.

The Art House and her crew would like you to become part of this story by visiting soon!

If you are checking out this site and thinking you’d like to do something similar, check out Jani’ blog post on how to start your own!

We invite you to join the mailing list, to stay in touch:

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