Cornerstone of Southampton’s grassroots cultural scene, The Art House CIC, will be leaving its Above Bar home in March this year.
The arts venue, cafe, meeting place and much more, which has been at its present location for 15 years, will no longer have a permanent physical home.
They made the announcement at 5pm on January 5 on their social media. In this they said: “We’re fully aware that this news isn’t just sad; for many, it’s going to be really hard to take in. The Art House has been more than just a venue – it’s been a community, a safe space, and a source of joy for so many. We’re announcing this now so that there’s time for us all to come together, to share memories, and to cherish this space while we still can.”
In a separate statement to In Common they said: “The Art House CIC crew have made the difficult decision not to continue our lease at our current location in March 2024.
“Having run as a venue for 15 years, the core crew wish to free up their time and energy to try new projects, make their own art and have adventures! This is only possible if we lighten the considerable workload of running a space this size.
“The current economic climate has put us, like many grassroots venues, under a lot of strain and continuing to run in our current location and form does not feel sustainable financially. Our core community, many of whom are marginalised, have been hardest hit by the cost of living crisis and this, in turn, has impacted our income.
“The project (and CIC) will continue and we are exploring ways to run our community pantry in a new location so that this vital service can continue. We will also relocate regular events like Moving Voices poetry open mic and our performance events, as well as carry on our online events. We’re interested in hearing from people who run other spaces and wish to partner up.
“We have not reached this decision lightly and realise that it will be sad news for many, as we have been a safe space and second home to a lot of our community members.
“This announcement has been made in plenty of time so that all who wish to come and enjoy the space have plenty of chances to do so – we have a packed programme of events between now and 16 March, when our performance events will finish. Our final day open as a pantry and cafe is yet to be announced.”
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