It's our birthday!
Twenty years ago three friends from Solent University graduated from their fine art degrees, but realised there was nowhere to show their work. So they set up an organisation called ‘a space’ arts.
Then 18 years ago today, on October 22nd 2002, Daniel Crow, Ben Scott-Hawkins and Pete Benham opened the first ‘a space’ gallery on Old Northam Road, in Southampton’s former antiques quarter.
With just £1000 from Hampshire County Council the initial ‘a space’ team started a journey that has seen them reanimate lost buildings across Southampton with arts and culture.
First up was the ‘a space’ gallery on Old Northam Road. Then came the Arches Studios underneath Central Bridge, and Tower House on Winkle Street – both still up and running as work / studio spaces for visual artists and creatives (click here if you’d like to join either of these vibrant communities – we currently have spaces at the Arches).
Since 2004 thousands of art lovers have visited ArtVaults, enjoying a whole host of exhibitions and events in Southampton’s atmospheric underground medieval vaults.
Did you know ‘a space’ also set up The Sorting Office in Eastleigh – now run by Eastleigh Borough Council?
We also converted Southampton’s most historic landmark, the fabulous Bargate, into Bargate Monument Gallery, showing brilliant work by fantastic artists between 2006 and 2012.
In 2012 we set off on the God’s House Tower journey, raising £3.1 million to refurbish the incredible 700 year old Town Quay ancient monument, before opening it in 2019 as Southampton’s most exciting new arts and heritage venue.
The RIPE programme brings new graduates to Southampton and encourages them to stay in the city, by providing free studio space in a disused shopping centre on Old Northam Road – meaning ‘a space’ is back to where it started almost 20 years ago.
We’d like to say a big ‘thank you’ to everyone who has supported the organisation to date – and please stay in touch for future news!