These young folks have agreed to share their talents with us for no fee, to help us raise the £300 or so we need to pay the Council to let us put tables out on the pavement, plus the tables and chairs we'll need. A worthy cause as it will help us to continue to be fairly busy even on hot days, when (and I may have mentioned this before) we sometimes sit here and watch tumbleweed go by instead of customers.
So I was just thinking of the film 'Field of Dreams' as you do, at times like these.
When we started, we did know a fair few artists, musicians, poets and other talented folk who would come and perform, show work, run workshops and generally be supportive of us. As we've got bigger, so many other beautiful creative souls have flocked to us, with many ideas for events, exhibitions, workshops, groups..... all of which makes us able to be the place we are. Their generosity, along with the time freely given by all the volunteers here, mean that the events we put on are well within everyone's budget, too, something we feel very passionately about.
Now, I never did hear voices in my head telling me 'Build The Art House and these splendid Artistes will come' but somehow those of us who founded the place knew that, despite the naysaysers, Southampton us bursting at the seams with all manner of talented folk. We knew that a lot of those people, especially those just starting out, needed a place where they could express that talent.
We set up to make a space for art to happen - not to make money from it but to just allow artists of all kinds to stretch their creative wings. The artists themselves understand and support what we do, lending their talent to make The Art House.... well, Arty! This kind of non-commercial space is for many of them very refreshing, giving them somewhere to try out new things, play around and be truly appreciated both by us and the people who come here.
Since day one, we've had a constant stream of songs, plays, poems, paintings, stories, crafts, writing and so much more - all of whom have humbled us with their brilliance, their enthusiasm and most of all their willingness to come and share it with us. We've had so many people stand up and perform, or put a painting on the wall, for the first time - some of them have gone onto careers from their beginnings here.
So as I sit here and enjoy yet more local talent, I'm all fuzzy inside with gratitude for the experiences I have every day working here, and thrilled that we're able to give these bright young things a place to try out their stuff. I do love my job!
The cake also helps! These were made by Amy from Little Penguin Creations.