Announcement: ArtSoTrans programme

ArtSoTrans is a community project in Southampton hosted by The Art House with support from Chrysalis, aiming to showcase the work of transgender people in the arts as part of the annual Transgender Day of Visibility celebrations (31st March).

We want to communicate to the wider community that transgender people have been here the whole time – that trans people are not a “new fad” and have been coexisting with cisgender people far before this recent upsurge in transphobic rhetoric.

Art is a universal language and can be used to unite people no matter their background or life experience differences. By shining a spotlight on transgender contributions to local art, we hope to engage a broad audience and convey the notion that trans people are valued and should be respected just the same as anyone else in our society.

During this week we will have art exhibited on the walls at The Art House, there will be live performance, workshops catered for trans people and for allies and more to get involved with. If you want to get involved, please email us via

Tuesday 26 March

Inclusivity workshop with Chrysalis
7pm – 9.30pm
Book here

Wednesday 27 March

Gender Identity Variance & Mental Health – a talk with Georgia Williams
7pm – 9.30pm
Book here

Thursday 28 March

Chrysalis Wellbeing Circle

Friday 29 March

Moving Voices ArtSoTrans takeover 
With host RKP and special guest Ethereal
Suggested donation £5 on the door

Saturday 30 March

Hunting Hearts & friends
Ash Ellis, Joey White + more tbc
Doors 7.30pm, show starts 8pm
Book here

Posted in Uncategorized

March 2019 highlights

Friday 1 March
Words the Turtle Taught me with Susan Richardson

Saturday 2 March
Jason Buck: Stories of the Vikings SOLD OUT

Sunday 3 March
Seed Swap

Friday 8 March
In Their Own Words with Damian O’Vitch

Saturday 9 March
Spitdust Album Launch

Wednesday 20 March
Drumming with Kwame Bakoji

Friday 22 March – Sunday 31 March
ArtSoTrans – Transgender Day of Visibility (TDoV) events

Tuesday 26 March
Inclusivity workshop with Chrysalis
(for TDoV)

Wednesday 27 March
‘A Deal with the Universe’ film screening for TDoV

Friday 29 March
Moving Voices TDoV special open mic with special guest Ethereal

Saturday 30 March
Hunting Hearts, Ash Ellis & Joey White

Sunday 31 March
Creativity Beyond the Binary workshop with Jani

Posted in Uncategorized

This weekend & next week at The Art House 1/2 -10/2 2019

Friday 1 Feb
Matt L T Smith & friends (Poetry showcase)

Saturday 2 February
Collage workshop with Nina Fraser

Sunday 3 February
Steve Snow live & unplugged in the cafe – free entry 1 – 3pm

Tuesday 5 February
The Art House on Board – board games night 6.30 – 10pm

Wednesday 6 February

Le Cafe des Amis French language cafe, 12.30 – 1.30pm
Crafty Cafe drop-in with Gill, 2.45 – 5.45pm
Poetry Stanza group, 7.30pm
The Art House book club, 7.30pm

Thursday 7 February 

Extinction Rebellion Southampton community meeting
7 – 9pm

Special storytelling event!

On Thursday February 7th, Southampton Storyclub will be playing host to Heads & Tales from Ringwood, who are performing their annual Epic in an Evening.

Saturday 9 February

Ash Ellis live & unplugged in the cafe 3 – 5pm

Daniel Eagle & friends 7.30pm
Click here for tickets and details

Sunday 10 February 

Doug and Ian live & unplugged in the cafe, 1 – 3pm

Tristan and Isolde is one of the great romances of Mediaeval literature, presented here for you by no fewer than six storytellers, with all its pageantry, gallantry, honour, love deception and ultimate tragedy – with a giant and a dragon thrown in!

Starting at 7.30 in order to get the whole story finished by closing time. £5 entry. Mediaeval costume entirely optional. Hope to see you there

Posted in Uncategorized

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!

Want to be a part of writing a new story for the future of community art spaces? Join our Patreon community for as little as £2 a month and get rewards, insights and offers exclusive to our supporters.

Posted in Behind the scenes, Community news & views, Future plans, Getting involved, Our philosophy

What’s coming up – Jan/Feb highlights

Highlights for the rest of January ….

Thursday 24 January
In Their Own Words with Damian O’Vitch

Friday 25 January
Moving Voices open mic
with special guest Stephen Ripper Mizen

Saturday 26 January
Mara Simpson (folk/storyteller)

Thursday 31 January
Music: Remi Harris (guitarist)

February Highlights at The Art House

Friday 1 Feb
Matt L T Smith & friends (Poetry showcase)

Saturday 9 February
Daniel Eagle & friends

Wednesday 13 February
Hammer & Tongue Solent ft Desree
(performance poetry)

Thursday 14 January
Lexi Wolfe: The Storyteller II
(Stories of love for Valentine’s day)

Friday 15 February
Red Tent open evening & film screening – details soon!

Saturday 16 February 
The Arnie Cottrell Tendency 

Sunday 17 February
Steampunk bring ‘n Buy

Tuesday 19 February
OUT-TAKE ensemble composing with a crowd
(workshop/interactive music event)

Wednesday 20 February
Drumming with Kwame Bakoji

Thursday 21 February
In Their Own Words with Damian O’Vitch

Saturday 23 February
On the Fringe of Science: Quacks, Cranks & Charlatans with Ian Dunne

Have a listen to the Spotify Playlist of our upcoming events here

Posted in Community news & views, Events, Local music, what's on

New Directors!


We have some really exciting news! On Thursday 17 January, we appointed two new Directors, taking our team from three to five.

Devin Valentine has been a cafe co-ordinator here since Mary 2016 and this year took on more admin, volunteer applications, rota management and funded projects.

You may also know him from such events as Reclaim the Night 2016, and the Transgender Day of Remembrance Vigil. Hobbies include fixing things, motorcycles and playing bass in his band Hunting Hearts (who are playing here tomorrow, Saturday 19 January, at 7.30pm – there are still tickets left!).

Dave Hubble is well known around Southampton, having co-ordinated our local Greenpeace group for many years, been active on the art and poetry scene and a common sight at local gigs! He joined The Art House as a maintenance co-ordinator and in the last couple of years took on the exhibitions co-ordination. He also once wrote a book on leaf beetles.

Posted in Behind the scenes, Community news & views, Future plans, Our crew, Uncategorized

This week at The Art House – to Sunday 20/1/19

Crafty Cafe every Wednesday 2.45 – 5.45pm, drop in, by donation
Facebook event here

The Art House Photography group, second Thursday monthly, 7.30pm
Facebook event here


Wassailing The Art House with Ancasta Rising, Friday 18 January from 7pm
Facebook event here


Hunting Hearts & Henry Newbury, Saturday 19 January, doors 7.30pm

Posted in Community news & views, Events, Local music, what's on

Jani on why we have to ask

This so sums up the glorious dilemma of being The Art House. We have created a space that is safe and welcoming for people who don’t find mainstream spaces OK at all. In a lot of ways we’ve created the space that we need – different from the norm, safer, accepting, welcoming.

That’s something we have done very well for many people.

But here’s the catch, see.

The people who love and use this space also are the very ones have been so badly hit by austerity.

People with disabilities, people with mental health challenges, neurodivergent people, people with chronic conditions, younger and older people, LGBTQIA+ people, people who have been pushed to the margins of society …. these make up a lot of our people.

We are also a space for folks who just need something different from the rest of what’s out there, including folks who want wholesome, healthy organic vegan and veggie food!

Thing is, we could get busier and earn more by ramming in lots of uncomfortable seating, turning the music up, getting a loud fancy coffee machine, aggressively upselling, getting people in and out of the door quicker, buying cheap ingredients, serving meat and/or low quality fast food, paying our staff less and having zero hours contracts …. that’s what most other places do to get by.

Or we could fancy things up and raise prices.

In fact the real kicker is watching commercial places around us make profits, expand and grow using these methods. That does test my resolve on the daily, I can tell you!

This would probably attract more customers and make more money, but it would scare off the people who need us and it would be shitty and we just can’t and won’t.

So instead I am here again asking for donations to make up our shortfall in income.

No lie: I find this so hard, even though the money is not for me (I am currently not paid for my role).

I wish it wasn’t this way. I wish our people had plenty to spend, but a lot of them don’t. So I have to ask everyone to pitch in what they can, even if it’s £1 or £5

I just want us to keep going and being here for our people, and some months, including this coming month, the figures don’t add up to a happy story.

If you can help today, please do. It will make our 11th birthday very jolly 🙂

Donate here using PayPal

Posted in Uncategorized

2018 at The Art House


I put together a little slideshow of photos from this last year – whew! We’ve had so many performances, workshops, meet-ups, celebrations, cakes, gorgeous new dishes, staff and volunteers… it has been quite an 11th year!

One of the young people who use our space summing up what it means to them:

“This has always been a safe place for me.

Socialising is hard for myself and coming even if i’m not meeting anyone in particular is a joy as it feels like home and I can be myself and relax.

Not to mention great food! Never fails to impress,to joining in at crafty cafe with the fabulous Gill, to drawing and being at the clothes swap this year had such a wonderful atmosphere everyone was so happy and open!

I came here 4 years ago 2019 will be my fifth wow time does fly,money is pretty tight at the moment so I will give when I can.

Thank you for everything everyone and to our lovely Art House :)”

Many of the people who thrive at The Art House have been hire by austerity as our your friend above has been, which means they can’t always spend a lot when they come here, but the space is still very important to them. This is why we ask for donations to top up our running costs and keep us going.

Tomorrow is our 11th birthday – we really want to celebrate our 12th and beyond but we need your help to get there! Today we are asking for birthday ‘presents’ in the form of donations of all sizes.

You can donate here via PayPal or credit/debit card.

For other ways to donate if you don’t wish to use PayPal, click here.

Posted in Behind the scenes, Community news & views, Customer comments, Events, Future plans, Getting involved, Our crew, Our philosophy, Uncategorized

Earlybird tickets for New Year’s Eve


Earlybird tickets for New Year’s Eve – under £10 for a lovely evening of music, food and good company, end this Sunday 9 December 2018.

Why not book now and relax in the knowledge that lovely plans are made for your New Year’s celebration?

We are limiting tickets, as always, to around 55 to keep the space from feeling hectic and crowded, so it is wise to book in advance as we are very unlikely to have any left on the night, this event generally sells out.

Book now!

Posted in Uncategorized