talking about 44AD
44AD is one of the only – vital and critical – professional venues for contemporary art in Bath. 44AD I support wholeheartedly, and encourage support from Bath more widely. I say this as a studio holder, professional and internationally exhibiting artist, senior lecturer and researcher at Bath Spa University. 44AD is incomparable in fostering culture through art in Bath, bringing people from all backgrounds together. Its central location is imperative for this exchange. Chan-nelling the first wave of emerging artists – not only from the Bath Spa University, but internationally – 44AD makes art happen culturally. And happen with long-term economic effect. Without 44AD there will be no proper exchange of its kind in Bath, this I believe.
Dr. Robert Luzar
Studio Artist, Senior Lecturer at Bath Spa School of Art and Design
44AD artspace is a vital community asset in a city where there are very few spaces available for creative endeavour. Not only does 44AD provide much needed studios and exhibitions spaces for artists, it also offers a dynamic programme of courses, exhibitions, events and workshops benefitting countless charities, schools, visitors and the local community. Their collaborative work is highly valued and this central city location essential to attract visitors to the free exhibitions and events held there. Its economic, cultural and social value and benefit to the City and beyond is immeasurable. 44AD revitalised a previously empty property in the centre of the city and we now urge BANES Council to keep the 4 Abbey Street site open for Community Arts.
Lane House Arts
I‘m happy to confirm the value of 44AD artspace for students at Bath School of Art and Design. The gallery is important in many ways. For example, it offers Curatorial Practice students opportunities to curate exhibitions in the real world and engage with viewers beyond academia. The spaces have real character and I‘m aware that several of my colleagues at Bath School of Art and Design have also booked 44AD for exhibitions. You have done wonderful work in organising and promoting 44AD and as a result it has become a venue with special significance for emerging practitioners of art, craft and design. There is no comparable experimental gallery in the city of Bath.
Dr Jo Dahn
Bath Spa University
Paul Thomas Director of BRLSI and Convenor of Young BRLSI has been providing valuable Science Technology Engineering Art and Maths workshops for local children at 44AD for the last year and he is devastated that the link between BRLSI and AD44 is being threatened in this misguided way.
Director of BRLSI
I think that 44AD has been an inspirational and unmissable part of my experience of joining the art community of Bath and beyond, while studying for my MFA at Bath Spa University. There is absolutely nothing else in Bath which offers such fresh vibrant contemporary art in the city centre, all year around, benefitting the whole of the Bath community. It is also a fantastic platform for emerging artists to show their work in a supportive and professional environment. You and the studio artists at 44AD have put in a huge amount of work into the clean-up and redecoration of this building to make it the lovely exhibiting space that it is. There is always an amazing selection of talks, classes and exhibitions, open to all, and the studio area upstairs has a lot of natural light which is perfect for artists.
I hope that Bath and North East Somerset Council will have the vision to keep supporting this exciting and innovative contemporary art space right where it is needed, in the heart of Bath.
Bath Spa University Master Fine Art Graduate
I have spent a considerable amount of time helping out at 44AD artspace over the past few months and have found it to be such an interesting, inspiring and positive environment to be in! Spending time around such a dedicated group of artists and coordinators has been invaluable in helping me to realise my own potential, and the exhibitions held there are so full of fantastic work to admire. I have found no other gallery in Bath to be so welcoming, and feel that it is a beacon of hope to young artists hoping to get involved in accessible community art spaces.
44AD is the bright light for contemporary art in Bath, supporting emerging artists to stay in the city and make work. 44AD provides spaces for audiences to participate, including open-access art workshops and curatorial education. Bristol Biennial were supported with a studio residency at 44AD, in which we worked on our 2016 festival, provided 'artist counselling' and were able to reach and connect with audiences beyond our home city. Bath can‘t afford to lose this important resource if it wishes to sustain creativity and collaboration across the city.
I appreciate being part of an artistic community that provides enjoyment and interest to Bath‘s residents and visitors. 44AD makes me feel I‘m contributing in a small way to a vibrant and varied city culture.
44AD were asked by BANES council to vacate their original pet-shop studios as the site was due to be redeveloped. The alternative venue at Abbey Street was offered, with a guaranteed tenure of 3 - 5 years. Ironically the pet-shop has still not yet been redeveloped and therefore the studios could have continued for at least another 2 years.
There has always been a distinct lack of affordable artists’ studio spaces available in Bath. Bath Spa arts graduates consistently migrate to Bristol, or London, in search of studios from which they can formulate their artists’ practice. The recent upsurge in the creative sector, particularly in Bristol, will merely accelerate this drain.
44AD does however provide the opportunity for students and graduates from surrounding colleges and universities to show their work to the public, and receive constructive criticism from their tutors and peers, in a non-commercial gallery setting, in the middle of an internationally vibrant city.
44AD is a significant hub in the annual Fringe Arts Bath Festival and a testing ground for aspiring curators studying at City of Bath College.
Former Bath resident, practicing artist, founder and editor of SATmag
My direct experience of 44AD is as an exciting contemporary art space making a consistently compelling contribution to the vibrancy of the cultural ecology in Bath. In a relatively short time, since graduating from Bath Spa University, Katie O'Brien has put a huge amount of effort into building up 44AD as a successful creative business. The gallery is now a must-see destination for residents and visitors alike interested in exploring visual arts in the city, providing a much-needed showcase for new and emerging artists. The studios are home to around twenty talented arts professionals, uniquely able to work in a central location in a city desperately in need of affordable working space for its creative artists and makers. Bath would be culturally and creatively poorer without 44AD.
Co-Chair, Cultural Forum for the Bath Area
Interim Director, Bath Artists' Studios
44AD is a great opportunity for established as well as young artist like me, to show some current work to the public. Katie is excellent at putting up the shows. Furthermore, she gives brilliant support during the show. It‘s great that she advertises the exhibitions publicly on the internet. Therefore many visitors come in to see the shows. 44AD is placed very central, which allows tourists to come along and see the exhibition. For me as an artist, this is an important point to get in touch with people from different backgrounds. This exchange creates new perceptions for me as well as for the visitors.
The workshops and public cultural offers are very helpful to get in touch with other artists and art interested people. For me 44AD is the best place to see fresh, young, contemporary art in Bath.
Without, there would be a void in a city that has the potential of being as vibrant as Bristol in the arts.
As an artist and resident of Bath, 44AD has within a few short years provided an essential focal point of cultural activity of the highest quality within the heart of the city. With its grass roots origins, it has throughout its existence, supported an immense and diverse range of artists and people across the creative spectrum that includes children, new and emerging artists, established artists as well as marginalised and hidden communities. It‘s reach and reputation (due to its fresh attitude and enthusiastic support) has extended from local to regional and from national and international, and continues to grow, long may it continue.
Artist, beneficiary of Flash artist residency
It has been a relief to find an artist-led space in Bath in 44AD, one of very few. Showing work there as part of Fringe Arts Bath has been of huge benefit to me, both personally and professionally. The fact that the gallery and studios are central provides a massive boost to the city, providing bright and convenient work space for artists and the opportunity to exhibit work and engage local audiences and national and international visitors. I work in the Tourist Centre and when asked about galleries in Bath am always pleased to point to both commercial ventures and to an artist-led space right in the heart of the city. 44AD‘s situation on Abbey Street speaks of a place that is proud of both its cultural heritage and its heritage in the making. I fully support 44AD‘s campaign to remain at this site. Bath makes considerable revenue by attracting visitors who are interested in its cultural life, I really don‘t see enough of them venturing as far as Walcot Street, lovely as it is, to view new work. So we will increase the sadly growing sense in which we are parochial and not connected to current streams in art and Bristol will thrive by negative comparison. There is irony here, as Bath is rightly keen to promote the School of Art‘s alumni, artists such as Kenneth Armitage, showing at the Victoria Gallery now. But will Bath attract artists of his stature to Bath when there is no semblance of a commitment to cutting edge contemporary art in the city centre? Sadly I doubt this. Not all revenue streams are direct and I fear that this proposed move is a mistake for the city.
Bath Spa Master of Fine Art student
As a mature student I worked with Katie at 44AD in conjunction with Bath College in 2015-16. The work was engaging and very productive, and led to a curated exhibition for all of us at 44AD - both and many of the other students have also signed up for next year’s course. In addition, I have recently been lucky enough to sub-let a studio at 44AD for two months, which is allowing me to work in media I cannot use at home - I am finding the experience of working amongst established artists very stimulating and informative. I believe that 44AD, with its established artistic links to educational institutes in Bath, provides a focused hub for contemporary art in the city. In this its location is relevant in that, alongside the abbey, it provides a thoughtful reminder to everyone that the enjoyment and energy of the city centre isn’t all about shopping and dining, nice as these activities are - it is also about questions, ideas and engaged interaction - all disseminated to many via the regular exhibitions and the well-attended evening viewing sessions. I believe 44ADs impact would be weakened if it were moved to a more remote premises, or if it adopted a greater emphasis on commercial activity.
Temporary 44AD studio artist
It is wonderful to have an artist led gallery in Bath focusing on contemporary art and showing promising emerging artists. My own experience of exhibiting at 44ad Gallery was extremely positive and fruitful and gave me the opportunity to hold an artist talk to which collectors, painters and the general public where invited. It would be a retrograde step in the promotion of Bath as a creative and vibrant City to close 44Ad Gallery.
As an artist living and working in Bath I have had many occasions to use 44AD. I have rented the gallery space for temporary exhibitions where I have shown and sold the work of other local artists and taken part in the in-house group shows. 44AD is a vibrant artist community where ideas are exchanged, networking is done and contacts are made. It is part of the beating heart of Bath life, a great creative and social resource that counters the creeping homogenisation of large parts of the city centre with its chain stores and fast food outlets. 44AD injects individuality and creativity back into the centre of town and is part of what attracts creative and entrepreneurial people to the city and makes it unique. Please don‘t suck anymore of the soul out of the centre of town by closing or moving 44AD.
There has been a real buzz on the arts scene in Bath since you created 44AD and developed it as a space for contemporary art. I have attended many of the previews of exhibitions there as well as visited the studio space upstairs and attended life drawing sessions held on Wednesday mornings.
This is exactly the sort of resource for contemporary art that has been missing from Bath‘s City Centre for a long time. The exhibition programme has been challenging, stimulating, and edgy in contrast to the kind of work shown by many of the commercial galleries in Bath. It provides an important platform for young and emerging artists, where they can test ideas and images, and get constructive feedback from the general public. The current exhibition of artists who are part way through their MFA is a good example of this, but there have been many others.
I understand the imperatives of continuing development of the city centre, but 44AD provides the kind of unique cultural experience that is so important to keeping the arts scene in Bath vital and relevant for artists, collectors and cultural tourism. I hope B&NES will continue to find ways to support your initiative in the city centre.
Artist, Arts Facilitator, Bath resident
I have lived and worked as a professional artist in Bath for 18 years, and despite the number of creative people living and working in the area, and the importance of arts and culture to the city, there is a real lack of central, affordable and inclusive exhibition and studio space. The opening of 44AD in Abbey St was therefore a real lifeline for local artists.
As a member of South West Illustrators a local professional group, I have exhibited in the main gallery space at 44AD three times. Katie and the team are always very welcoming and supportive, and they have also extended the activities of the studios to include life drawing sessions, workshops, talks and artists discussions, all of which support the local community, local artists and the arts scene. 44AD has quickly become an invaluable exhibition space and central arts hub in the city.
Jane Veveris Callan
I wanted to thank you again for the chance to use the gallery. I didn‘t really know what to expect of the week but it was good for me to see the paintings hung together in a proper gallery for the first time. I was pleased with how cohesive it all looked and the feedback was very encouraging.
In total we had 243 visitors come through the door during the six days and about 65 odd came to the PV. I didn‘t agree any sales through the week but I feel confident that several contacts made may lead to sales at some point.
You have a great set up at 44AD and your enthusiasm for the space is infectious. I really liked the fact that the exhibition was open as you passed your first anniversary in the new building. I hope you have many more successful years there.
44AD is a unique space in Bath and deserves to stay in its present position in the city centre, as it is the only truly contemporary art space in the city. Bath has very limited opportunities for contemporary artists to practice and as a result most of the graduates of Bath‘s own school of art migrate towards Bristol, where it is easier and cheaper to practice. Bristol is a city where contemporary art and design is valued and Bath council now has an opportunity to demonstrate that Bath too values the contemporary arts community.
44AD has developed as a hub for contemporary art in Bath fostering successful links with university, college and arts organisations. It provides a valuable cultural resource for the local people of Bath, which is unfortunately something that appears to rank way below the provision of the tourist facilities that abound.
I know that the exhibitions in the gallery space provide a valuable resource for art and design students at Bath College, as it is not always possible for college students to travel to London, or even Bristol for both practical and financial reasons. Having the gallery in close proximity allows students to view contemporary works and helps to develop their knowledge of contemporary art practice. Many people have considered developing an art space in Bath, myself included, but have been put off by the difficulties and restrictions that Katie now faces. She should be applauded for having come this far and for making 44AD a success. The Council now has an opportunity to demonstrate that it does value the arts through its actions, not just its words.
44AD artspace has been a great resource for emerging artists in Bath. The other studios in town cater for more traditional artists, and it‘s important to have somewhere to show contemporary practice in the city. The central location is easily accessible and at the ‚heart‘ of things.
I‘ve shown three times in the venue and the shows have been well organised and lively events.
44AD also offers affordable, warm and pleasant shared studio space which is VERY hard to come by.
Artist and Bath Spa Master of Fine Art Graduate 2013
We are beginning to see Bath as a primary and recognised attraction for Art in terms of the number of commercial Art galleries (2 with London representation) and public spaces like the Victoria and Holburne in the same spirit as St Ives with a heritage of local artists of some renown. Bath has a historical relationship with the Royal Photographic Society which sadly moved their primary exhibition space out of Bath some years ago. It is important to recognise that Bath has a vibrant community of practising artists, sculptors and photographers working in communal studios or alone - many art trails and festivals are good evidence for this. In the short time that 44AD has functioned (through the support of the council) we have seen a number of group and solo exhibitions of artists (some new and young) who are exploring the immediate contemporary art space that would not be explored by the other commercial galleries. This centre has encouraged the local people to explore contemporary art principally enabled by the benefaction of Bath City Council. With further support and publicity I would expect that 44AD could become an important venue in contemporary UK creative arts and enable new artists with somewhat radical briefs an opportunity for exposure. In the same way, this would provide Bath with a differentiated position recognised outside London in the same way that St Ives holds that position for the Southwest and attract collectors as do both Beaux Art (which was originally in St Ives) and the Adam Gallery. 44AD is passing through the embryonic stage towards a real presence and needs either the support of the council or a benefactor to sustain a space that is both central and inexpensive to allow it to survive. The current 44AD gallery not only enables exhibition but also provides a low cost place for artists to have a community with small studios. Furthermore, 44AD is firmly linked to the Universities with support for the curation course at Bath Spa University, support for visiting artists, art classes, forums for debate and internship for young individuals entering the management of creative arts. As a Council tax payer I enjoy the opportunities that 44AD provide, I wish to see tangible support from the Council for such ventures that are consistent with Bath‘s position as a World Heritage site and as a cultural centre. This is an investment that is well meaning and well spent and contrasts with the well intentioned focus to make the council tax payer’s monies go further by renting out the space to a business that will no doubt put little if anything back into the community which would sadden me. 44AD is simply not a commercial venture and the values are not only of economic priority. Science, like art provides many examples where questions arise around esoteric activity and have plenty of examples where humanity has benefited from support in the face of dysfunctional short term economic greed. Similarly, 44AD was a gamble, it is paying off though focus and perseverance and requires continued and enduring support from the Bath City council and its tax payers, please help 44AD grow in stature.
Richard Young (Dr)
I would just like to say that having 44AD in its current location provides a vibrant ,accessible hub of creativity for a diverse range of people , shoppers, tourists , students, to walk into and experience something unexpected. It is a unique and exciting venue, and a pleasure to work in.
I would like to add my voice to support your aim of keeping 44AD as a contemporary space for artists of all kinds. For me, the two occasions that come to mind most readily are the Johnny Briggs exhibition (part of the ‚contemporary tales‘ series of conversations with artists) where forty or so participants experienced an intimate conversation between Dr. Whiting (a former member of 44AD) and this important young artist, learning first-hand about his practice in a relaxed and inspiring atmosphere.
Another, very different event, was a workshop for a group of distance learning students (At the time I was Curriculum Leader for Fine Art with Open College
of the Arts/University for the Creative Arts, and Fellow of the Higher Education Academy). 44AD‘s central position in Bath was ideal as a meeting point for young artists from all over the UK, and an opportunity to experience and critically discuss contemporary work within a relaxed environment that serves as both exhibition and workspace. We used the occasion to look closely and engage in critical debate about other artists‘ work in relation to the students‘ own work and feedback was that the atmosphere and positioning of 44AD added to the success of the event.
I would be very sorry if 44AD did not continue to exist as it is clearly an inspiring and dynamic organisation.
Linda Khatir PhD
Fringe Arts Bath (FaB) used 44AD during this year’s festival. We held 2 film nights and short program of collaborative and changing exhibitions attracting over 200 visitors. We have built a very positive working relationship with 44AD and are very excited about the future of 44AD after seeing what it has achieved in a bit less than a year!!!
We look forward to working with 44AD again during the next FaB Festival, but we do need to ensure 44AD can still exist in a city centre location and we feel that everything should be done to allow the studios to stay at their current space, we are happy to back and offer support to help try to make this happen.
Fringe Arts Bath Director
Bath has needed a creative art space in the city‘s centre for a long time now, and 44AD is that place. Katie has successfully transformed a dilapidated building into a thriving community of artists and art supporters that otherwise would have not existed. I‘ve taken part in many events and exhibitions at the space, and have been incredibly impressed every time. I give Katie and 44AD all of my support in future endeavours, and hopefully the city of Bath will continue to give any financial and moral support that is necessary for it to continue far into the future.
44AD Studio Artist and International Bath Spa Master of Fine Art 2010
I am very pleased to write a sentence in support of 44AD.
It is a space run by artists for artists, it is fantastic to find such a vibrant hub of contemporary art in the type of central location normally reserved for wealthy galleries who tend to only feature 'safe' art. i.e. known saleable artists or artists making easy images. Whereas 44AD has a proven track record of showing ground breaking work that may not get featured by the mainstream galleries. How else can art hope to move forward without the backing of professionally run spaces such as this in locations where easy access to the public can be maintained? It would be short sighted to relegate such an exciting and well run initiative to some inaccessible backstreet. Good and ground breaking work needs to be centrally located to ensure it has the opportunity to be judged by the greater public at large. It‘s central location can only help to promote Bath as not only an historic city but one which has a foot also firmly embedded in both the present and the future too.
44AD is the only contemporary gallery of its kind in Bath and its constantly changing array of exhibitions, talks and events make it a really important part of the local arts scene. I have been visiting since I was a student at Sion Hill and included notes taken and things learned as part of a 'professional context' module of the fine art course. Since graduating the open call exhibitions have given me the opportunity to make new work, exhibit and even sell.
Bath Spa graduate
44AD Gallery and Studios is an important contributor to the Bath contemporary art scene. I am among many artists who have been given opportunities to exhibit there that would not otherwise have been possible in the city, and have been impressed and encouraged by the ever increasing numbers of visitors to exhibitions since it first opened. It provides a lively and welcoming forum both for well-established and newly emerging artists, with a changing program of shows and it is extremely efficiently managed and run. There is no doubt that 44AD has become a cultural and art-educational gem of real importance.
One of the most exciting things to have happened in Bath over the last years has been the establishment of the unique 44AD studios. Katie provides a dynamic and inclusive framework within the city. 44AD is exactly what a city such as Bath needs.
Artist and Bath Spa Master of Fine Art Graduate 2013
44AD is alive, is exciting, it has a creative pulse. There is always something going on there, the daily hustle of the artists’ studios is the backbone of its success, the exhibitions, talks, classes and events held there are so much stronger for that. It is the sort of space which plays a vitally important part in keeping creative graduates in Bath, of which we have many. So many leave for Bristol/London/Glasgow in search of opportunities 44AD and its community could offer them. Katie and the team have worked with many groups and built a great community around 44AD, with a non-elitist feel, welcoming and open to ideas. She has created opportunities for many Bath Spa students to exhibit, curate, volunteer and even took on an intern (who was given real gallery work, not allowed to make cups of tea, not swamped with admin). Bath College students have been invited for gallery talks, tours and Q&A’s too.
The central location is essential, it makes 44AD really accessible to all.
I wholly support Katie and 44AD in their plans to stay in their current location and look forward to seeing what they get up to next!
Arts Producer, Fringe Arts Bath
Project Manager, Pop Up Docs
Committee Member, Bath Fringe Festival
Member of The Bell Inn Community Pub
The fact that 44AD Artspace resides in the building that it does, so central to the city, is so very important. Too often accessible Art Spaces are pushed to the outskirts of cities and towns, save for a few very commercial galleries. Bath has such a strong cultural heritage and as a community we should be striving to keep our arts and cultural activities (both modern and old) central to the city - both metaphorically and geographically. For us, as a bijou screening space where we can screen alternative and non-mainstream films to Bath audiences, 44AD is a major asset. It would be a travesty if 44AD were forced to move off the beaten track, or fail to continue as they are.
Pop Up Docs
With reference to the council‘s short-sightedness in refusing to renew the lease of 44AD artspace at a reasonable cost, we offer our full support for the campaign to keep this fantastic venue in the heart of the city. We can‘t believe this is happening. With few venues of this kind it is vital that it remains within this city, renowned for its culture.
Can the council not see that this is exactly what the town needs: a much valued and inviting space for artists and many visitors?
With full support and best wishes to 44AD.
Nicki Coats & Martin Cashnella
Minerva Art Supplies
13 Green Street
In my role as Art Tutor at Bath Academy International School, Queens Sq. Bath, I would like to voice my support for 44AD Art Space and Gallery.
44AD has a vibrant community of artists, offering art activities and a rich range of exhibitions throughout the year. Its central location makes it ideal for me to bring my students along to see the exhibitions and the unique possibility for the students to meet and question working artists, helping them with their research. On a personal note as an associate member, I think it is very important to have such a cultural venue where the Arts and learning can come together providing a living cultural heritage. So much of what Bath has to offer is directed at tourists, 44AD is a venue for both tourists and more importantly for the local community in and around the city. A place such as this is needed in the city and should be supported by our council.
Art Tutor at Bath Academy International School
When having just finished my MA in Fine Art in October last year 44AD provided great opportunities to exhibit my work locally at low cost. I did my BA in Art at Bath Spa Uni in 2006, and at that time there was nowhere in the city that you could really go to exhibit and there was no contemporary art scene that you could join in with. 44AD has been a place to get experience invigilating and curating art work outside of Uni. It provides a valuable next step outside of Uni to meet other artists rather than to feel isolated and that continuing to make art is impossible.
These kind of opportunities don‘t exist anywhere else in Bath as the other local galleries are not supportive of recent graduates, and internships in London mean having the funds to work for free and support yourself in London. In addition to supporting students I have seen many art talks, and exhibitions by local artists and a project to help disadvantaged youths, so it’s an art community that will only grow and prosper - but it needs to stay where it is to continue to establish its identity.
44AD is a truly community led enterprise; measuring its value in £s cannot reflect its true value. In practice the ethos of ‘Social Capital’ appears to have no real value when it comes to finding realistic and practical opportunities to improve the wellbeing of our catchment’s residents and provide a stimulating creative culture in this City. Bath is lagging behind comparable cities and there is no excuse and worse, no justification.
Arts Programme Manager
Art at the Heart (RUH)
We would like to add our support for the continuing presence of 44AD in the centre of Bath.
An important resource for all citizens of Bath and a leading light for the cultural/arts community in Bath.
I am a studio artist at 44AD; I graduated from Bath Spa Uni as a mature student. Finding quality, reasonably priced studio space in Bath is really difficult. The spaces that exist usually consist of blocked off, anonymous spaces that produce atmospheres that allow little or no interaction between the resident artists. These kind of environments are not what we’ve been taught is the best atmosphere for creativity. On top of that, finding any sort of gallery outlet is equally troublesome and rare.
44AD has been a revelation for the Bath art scene since it burst on to the scene a year ago. We receive comments almost daily from visitors to the gallery about how in need Bath has been for this type of breath of fresh air. The special thing about 44AD isn’t just the organic gallery space; it’s the combined studio space that gives the building its soul. Having the artists creating their work so close to where it’s being exhibited is what makes 44AD so different from other galleries in the city. Instead of a generic, antiseptic, commercialised space, 44AD’s uniqueness is found in its connection both in spirit and in proximity to the creative juices that make it all possible.
Having such a healthy artistic environment that gives art lovers and artists alike a platform to experience some of the best contemporary art in the region, right in the centre of a city like Bath is priceless. It would be a progressive and exceptionally forward thinking step for the Council to put their all into maintaining the artistic diversity within the central zone of the city. I feel that this diversity, of which 44AD is one of the main contributors will be vital if Bath is to maintain its reputation as an eclectic city, and not just home to the same sterilised artistic consumerism that can be found in other similar cities in the UK.
I believe that it is the Council’s duty to cherish all of Bath‘s population, in all their colours and interests. To allow the artists of the area to do what they do best; to keep making and showing beauty in all its forms within the hustle and bustle of the city centre.
Please maintain Bath‘s diversity and don‘t push it to the peripheries. The quirky site it currently occupies exemplifies 44AD’s eccentricity, beauty and creative power and I can‘t think of a better use for such a building in such a place. Keep the rare gem that is 44AD within the heart of this great city, and keep the heart of this city great.
44AD Associate and Bath Spa Fine Art Graduate 2012
For local artists like myself who are trying to make a living from art having graduated from Bath Spa School of Art & Design ten years ago 44AD is of vital importance. It is the only central contemporary art organisation which provides gallery space for hire, artist studios, art workshops and a forum for artists to engage with diverse members of the public, visitors to the city, academics, school groups as well as potential buyers.
As someone who teaches art at local schools, collaborates with local university researchers and initiates local community art projects 44AD offers an appropriate and increasingly recognised place for art related educational activities. This social value needs to be taken into account in addition to the commercial viability of this enterprising organisation.
I was really honoured to exhibit at 44AD in Abbey St. Jan/Feb 2016 after having previously exhibited at their last venue a few years before. The previous venue had been great for large collaborative shows but the new venue near the Abbey was just what I was looking for in terms of intimacy and location.
It is a very beautiful building and I‘d been sad to see it unused for such a long time before 44AD invested in it.
All of the people that I met during my joint show this year were friendly, encouraging and positive about my work, making me feel welcome and part of a wider group of likeminded people. This was very important to me as I have cancer and all of my work had been produced during my third experience of chemotherapy. During this time I had felt isolated and cut off from any cultural scene but having the opportunity to exhibit in such a beautiful gallery at the end of my treatment kept me going through some pretty dark times. It was artwork made from a place of vulnerability and I felt that this was respected by everyone.
Katie was wonderful and couldn‘t have been more helpful and it was exciting to observe such a variety of artists pass through the gallery and off upstairs to their studios.
I haven‘t been able to visit 44AD as much as I‘d have liked since my show as I am still unwell and on various medication but I was impressed by the timetabled events being advertised for the year ahead and there seemed such a huge demand for the gallery space I felt lucky to have been able to get a weeks’ slot. It felt very inclusive and welcoming and it was all I could have hoped for from a venue, and more.
I have exhibited widely in my career and it is rare to find such a large group of people working together in such a positive way for the benefit of both their own work and that of the community. It is a project/ gallery to be treasured as a valuable asset to Bath.
As an independent artist, working from my own studio it has always been hard to know where to show my work to the public in the local area. Fringe Arts Bath (run from 44AD artspace) have always had an open door policy for emerging artists and that is how I first came across the artspace when their gallery was used for the festival.
As a resident of Bath, I later heard that they had moved to "The old pet shop" by "Pigeon Park" and were holding an open call exhibition. As far as I knew this was the only gallery interested in emerging artists. With no entrance fee and only a hanging fee if your work is accepted this helps enormously with the finances for the less well off.
This Artspace can only give these opportunities to emerging artists if it is run as a not for profit organisation that collaborates with all areas of the community and is based in a central location.
Bath would be a much poorer city without 44AD Artspace at its centre for the arts.
Artist, Designer, Sculptor
Having previously visited the former 44AD gallery I was delighted to re-discover it in 2015. I was immediately struck by the friendliness of the gallery staff and volunteers. I immediately applied to become an associate member and hoped to become an active participant in what is a vital resource of the arts for the public. The fact that this also gives an outlet to all forms of art and craft that engages on many levels and I‘ve found that I‘ve met lots of people through the gallery and studios that has been revelatory.
As many "commercial" galleries and arts spaces have faced an uncertain future without corporate backing the need for a community facility for the arts has never been stronger. Whilst I‘ve engaged in volunteering I‘ve come to realise the sheer volume of work undertaken by Katie and others to bring a diverse range of activities to the artspace (what commercial gallery would end a private view with a "free for all" music concert?) Furthermore I was delighted to be involved in a number of exhibitions, most notably for Dorothy House Hospice care staged at 44AD with contributions from celebrities, professional and amateur artists all producing work as a fundraiser for this most worthy charity.
I would be happy to lend my support for the continuation of this most valuable community asset.
I have been a resident of Bath for 25 years.
I have had my paintings selected by the Royal West of England Academy over a number of years. I was keen to have a one-man show of my work and 44AD enabled this to happen.
44AD has been instrumental in me promoting my series of landscape paintings based on the Bath Skyline. My show, that was on for one week in November 2015 was well attended by residents of Bath as well as many tourists. The location is absolutely key - and it‘s so important that Bath artists can present work in the heart of the city where it is actually visible.
44AD offers a refreshing and much-needed artistic dimension to our city. It is one of the few genuinely unique spaces in central Bath. Increasingly all cities offer all the same shops as any other city & this gallery offers genuine cultural benefit to our community. It is vital to all of us.
When I first moved to Bath, I was looking for my artist tribe. I had just relocated to England from Germany, where I‘d been for 4 years. Prior to that, I‘d lived in the USA my entire life. In Germany, I learned how important it was to find other artists to feel locally engaged in my work. 44AD has provided that community
- not only to exhibit work, but to meet colleagues and allied professionals that have become integral to my creativity and productivity here in Bath. The concentric circles of influence and business impact fostered by 44AD are invaluable. It would be a shame and disappointment for the City of Bath to allow such a valuable resource to go unsupported. On the contrary, measures should be taken to help 44AD thrive for a long time to come.
I was lucky enough to spend a lot of time at 44Ad after signing up for a Bath College evening course in Gallery Curatorship, run by the gallery director, Katie O’Brien. This was such a valuable experience - not only because of the quality of teaching but for the incredibly friendly and creative hub of people that the course introduced me too. Being involved with 44AD made me feel I was actually part of the local community for the first time in the 6 years I have lived in central Bath, and continues to do so today. It is a real asset, and that is down to the work of Katie O’Brien who is as dedicated as they come. Her focus and continued commitment to the arts scene in Bath should not go unrecognised – I cannot think of another organisation that melds education, inclusiveness, community and creativity so successfully with so little financial support. Imagine what the gallery could become with greater resources – the thought that the council want to close or relocate the space is truly disheartening to hear. The fact that the organisation has already been forced to relocate (and renovate!) once before is shocking. Venues like 44Ad add a unique quality to the city centre – an individuality and need to be valued. Closing 4 Abbey Street as a community venue would undoubtedly demonstrate the Council’s absent commitment to the arts and to the local community, and offer a clear message that they’re incapable of recognising the value that such work can bring.
Gallery Curatorship Student
I had the great pleasure of collaborating with Katie and the 44AD associate artists on an event that was used as a platform to showcase and create new discussions about psychological research being undertaken by me and a number of colleagues. This opportunity was one which I never imagined I would have the chance to undertake, I learnt a lot about planning an art exhibition and the decisions and hard work involved in curating an exhibition – especially one so eclectic that involves a range of artists work and also a range of materials on psychological research. 44AD gave me a place where I could interact with and discuss mine and my colleague’s research with local members of the community, through which we have since developed new ideas and collaborations which I hope will lead to further stimulating research being conducted. Not only was this an excellent development opportunity for me, it also enabled me to introduce several of our PhD students to engaging with the public about their research. This is key to their future development because of the expectation of policy makers, and research funders that we will engage with the public, especially where our research is publically funded. All this was made possible through the inspiration and support of the 44AD team and this event would not have happened if such a space did not exist in the city centre. The future opportunities for 44AD to engage with the local community not just about science and research through art, but the whole range of art, performance, topics, ideas, experiences for discussion that they open their gallery to would be in my opinion a great loss to the community of Bath.
44AD provides an essential space for contemporary artists in the city of Bath, to exhibit and produce work.
This non-commercial gallery allows artists to push boundaries, experiment and discover.
As a lecturer at the Bath School of Art and Design, I know 44AD offers space and opportunities for our excellent graduates who wish to stay in Bath to contribute to the city‘s cultural and creative community. To lose this non-profit space will be a great tragedy for the city and its artists.
Course Leader BA Contemporary Arts Practice at Bath School of Art and Design
In her speech at the Conservative party conference, Theresa May identified the creative industries as one of the key economic sectors that the government are going to focus on and support as drivers of future growth.
The West of England Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) Creative and Digital Sector Skills Plan states: "The West of England has an exciting, innovative and diverse mix of creative and cultural industries with a growing national and international profile creating opportunities for economic growth as well as social and cultural regeneration." One of the area‘s strengths is its "...rich activity and wide-ranging local support, combined with a thriving incubation and co-working culture" and recognises the importance of creative studios such as 44AD in achieving this. Bath has a key role in the growth of this sector and has been identified as a creative hotspot. The council should be seeking to build on the success of 44AD and make it a key part of its future creative strategy. 44AD is delivering exactly what is needed as part of this area‘s economic strategy and should be supported not shut down.
It would appear that the cost benefit analysis carried out by the council has failed to take into account these economic factors.
If the Council wants to measure community benefit, they should talk to the members of the community who have been involved in and benefitted from 44AD.
44AD supports local artists onto the national stage.
44AD art space has become increasingly important for me as an art student at Bath Spa University. They have offered much support by way of giving work experience and helping advertise our own exhibitions. 44AD is the only gallery in Bath that offers artist talks, classes and workshops making it an essential space for emerging artists in Bath due to its support and accessibility. The space itself is unique in the way that it allows all of this to happen in a central location; another space in another location would not provide everything that 44AD currently does.
Artist and Student Bath Spa Fine Art
alldaybreakfast artist collective
1a James Road, Soundwell, Bristol, BS16 4SZ 07950094529
alldaybreakfast as an artist collective we create innovative group and solo exhibi-tions with associative participatory events.
44AD is a wonderful resource in a wonderful situation. So valuable to have a public and outward leaning, community oriented, creative and cultural space in such a ‘prime’ situation. One which so easily could be devoted to yet more retail or other high-rent-generating, non-cultural non-inspirational pursuit.
During the Fringe Arts Bath 2016, 31st May – 12th June, Bristol based artist’s collective alldaybreakfast, had the great pleasure of being given the basement gallery. This space was a crucial inspiring and invaluable component of our exhibition, The Time Machine. We curated a changing programme of live performances and during our twelve days, eleven different artists or groups used the space to engage audiences and invite their participation.
We found the managers and people working at the gallery friendly, helpful and incredibly accommodating. They all worked hard to ensure our, quite complex, event went smoothly.
The gallery was the perfect venue for our event, being very well located near the most active area of Bath which ensured that we had a continuous audience of intrigued and interested passers-by, including an art college tour visiting from Nova Scotia! No other venue in Bath could have enabled us to cover the broad range of events we managed to accommodate, from time traveling narratives to blindfolded visitors being guided across a floor of sweet smelling herbs and inviting people to throw a pot on a wheel which had been dragged by foot along the cycle path from Bristol. Bath’s amazing history served as inspiration for many of the events. The Time Machine ended with a public symposium where the artists avidly discussed their work, members of 44AD attended and contributed. Throughout the Time Machine we received over a thousand visitors and gave extremely positive feedback.
We are very happy to have had the opportunity to make work at 44AD and wish to add our voices to keeping it running. It is a dynamic institution and a hugely valuable resource. Long may it remain!
Yours in hope,
Anwyl Cooper-Willis for alldaybreakfast
44AD artspace was definitely very important for my master degree. I recently finished my MA Curatorial Practice and during the whole course I had the opportunity to not only check many different exhibitions (due to the artspace be located in the city centre and easy to access), but I also had the huge pleasure to work with the gallery two times. Those opportunities certainly were essential for my experience and my career.
International MA Curatorial Student
44AD artspace was definitely very important for my master degree. I recently finished my MA Curatorial Practice and during the whole course I had the opportunity to not only check many different exhibitions (due to the artspace be located in the city centre and easy to access), but I also had the huge pleasure to work with the gallery two times. Those opportunities certainly were essential for my experience and my career.
Dr. Martin Elphick
Advantages of Exhibiting at 44AD.
I am a fine artist & printmaker and I have been exhibiting in Bath for many years but this summer I held my first exhibition at 44AD and I was very impressed. Katie offers an invaluable service to emerging artists. The established galleries in Bath are reluctant show work from unproven artists and hiring an empty shop in a good location for a pop-up show is not easy. So this space is invaluable.
On a more practical level, compared to other exhibitions I have organised, there was an increased numbers of visitors, up at least 70%, and this was accompanied by an improvement in sales and a commission. In addition the feedback from visitors has inspired me to produce new work based on the conversations. I have already booked another slot in the gallery.
On the wider level, because of the unique nature of the venue many visitors were not regular gallery goers. They popped in and browsed in a way that would have not felt comfortable doing in the more established galleries in Bath. It can only be hoped that their experience at 44AD will encourage them to look at other venues in the city.
Carole Anne Tonge
My experience at 44AD was extremely encouraging and I really appreciated the central location of the gallery which gives a brilliant footfall – important for all artists of whatever level to experience. Such a variety of people dropped into the gallery and shared their thoughts and indeed in the case of other artists, experiences. It was inevitably exhausting but totally exhilarating. If I had been asked in the couple of weeks prior to the exhibition whether I would be exhibiting again, I would probably have said no but that has changed and, in time (however long it takes to get my next body of work together) I will certainly do it again! This was only my second solo exhibition and I am a somewhat reticent artist but I really do feel I can call myself one now!
Thank you for providing the opportunity for the likes of me.
Bath Spa School of Art and Design Graduate
I am an art student based in Radstock and I am studying for a degree in Drawing & Applied Arts at the University of the West of England. I have found it invaluable to have the support of 44AD as a studio local to me in Bath. They have a wide variety of exhibitions, regular speakers and other artists with whom I can discuss my work. They have a key role to play in supporting and nurturing the talent of artists based in Bath and North East Somerset.
A piece of work that I produced for one of 44AD‘s open exhibitions has subsequently been selected for the Jerwood Drawing Prize Exhibition which is the country‘s largest and most prestigious open exhibition of drawing. This would not have been possible without 44AD and shows their success in supporting local artists onto the national stage.
The council should be proud of what 44AD has achieved and support them.
44AD has provided a vital route for practising artists in the South West to exhibit work, and particularly for students and graduates from local Universities, including Bath School of Art and Design, Bath Spa University. As the designers and artists of the future it is important for Bath to have exciting venues like 44AD to reinforce Bath‘s growing reputation as a centre for the arts. Hopefully, 44AD will be given the opportunity to establish themselves in the heart of the city and provide a valuable outlet for artists, both local and visiting, and attract increasing numbers of visitors, who are drawn to Bath‘s artisan culture.
As a professional artist who has exhibited at 44AD, I have seen the direct benefits of a unique arts space that is run by passionate and dedicated people with an ‘open to all’ attitude and a professional approach to what they deliver.
They are a crucial link between the local educational institutions, artists and the wider community, and enable artists to build their practices in the city through professional support and networking, exhibition opportunities, collaboration across sectors and raising profile.
Artist, Bath Resident
44AD is a vital part of the city‘s cultural life. Artists’ studios and exhibition spaces are hard to come by in Bath, there just aren‘t enough spaces to serve the large population of artists in the city.
I had an exhibition there last year, the creative energy in the building was amazing. There is a new exhibition every week, and space is booked up for many months ahead. 44AD is a great space to exhibit in and the support from Katie and the rest of the artists there was fantastic.
After graduating from Bath Spa MA there was so little studio space in Bath that I ended up commuting to a studio in Bristol - many students leave the city after graduating because of this. 44AD has meant I can work in my city - and meet and collaborate with other local artists and I‘m about to start a creative project with a local school. At a time when most high streets have empty shops and are fighting against having exactly the same chain stores as the next town or city, the studios is part of Bath‘s vibrant independent artistic community - a tourist attraction and a vital element of our local economy.
Bath Spa Master of Fine Art graduate
When I moved to Bath I chose 44AD as my starting point to get to know the city‘s art scene and to find work experience. After little research, it had been easy to realise what an active, open and connected cultural centre the gallery was.
I couldn‘t have chosen better. 44AD offers a wide range of activities, thanks to which I easily liaised with artists, curators and professionals of the arts, both local and international. The team of Bristol Biennial, the Action on Hearing Loss group, Fringe Arts Bath Festival team are only few examples. What I got from having met Katie and having being part of the gallery life is helping a lot my career in the art world. The level of art on show is always very high, and thanks to the hard work of the team the gallery offers the most diverse and interesting program of exhibitions. Also, the possibility to have artists working in studios on the first floor enriches immensely the space, creating a very unique place, different from any other commercial gallery you can find. It is a fantastic experience both for the public and the artists. 44AD adds so much to the cultural life of Bath, and it really is a key institution.
In these post Brexit times, some may feel that our concerns should be shifting to increasingly practical things and that we should dispense with not-for-profit organisations and community interest groups. However, in our opinion, the role of an organisation such as 44AD serves to uplift, inform and challenge. It brings an independent voice to our city that is sorely needed in its presence among the large commercials which fill much of our high street. 44AD reminds us of important issues such as diversity and inclusion and is a valuable representative of the large creative community in Bath which is struggling to be heard and seen.
44AD is an essential creative hub in Bath, immensely adding to the cultural experience of the city. As an artist it has given me the opportunity to carry out a residency, to exhibit work and as a visitor and viewer it has introduced me to local artists from illustrations to installations and even research projects collaborating with University of Bath and 5x5x5=Creativity. It is a fantastic demonstration of the creative talent our beautiful city holds, which is made visible with the uniquely accessible platform 44AD provides.
Sophie Erin Cooper
Artist, beneficiary of Flash artist residency
44AD is an open minded, friendly art space in a prime location. Its affordable rental terms make it accessible to emerging artists who are all dealt with in a very encouraging way. It is an ideal place to hold one‘s first exhibition.
As someone who has an aversion to the established gallery venue and who has been delighted to visit exhibitions in this gem of a studio and gallery space which you have created in Abbey street (and as someone who has successfully shown his own work at 44AD in both joint and group exhibitions under less precious and pretentious conditions than often exist elsewhere) I would be very pleased to see 44AD continue to grow and thrive in its current location in the centre of Bath and concerned for the health of the Arts in the City if it doesn‘t.
I have, so far, only taken part in group shows since you moved to Abbey Street, but am looking forward to bringing two new shows to this venue later this year. For an artist like myself working outside the mainstream of Fine Art practice, in a little known medium - Box Art, it is as important to be able to show the whole of my recent output over a period of 2 or 3 years in one space, and to receive the considered comments of my peers and of outsiders and this I was, and am able to do at 44AD in the milieu of a fine city.
For younger artists it is a similarly necessary experience and one that it is not easy or financially possible to find elsewhere once they have left College.
This year Catherine Phelps and I are looking forward enormously to bringing Lost & Found, which successfully showed at Freshford in June, to 44AD and Bath in November. This version will include a mix of work in a variety of mediums, once again by a range of artists both in age and experience from the newly graduated to the persistent ancient, and will, this time we hope, also include some fine work by a rather well-known local resident.
As you know Graeme Hobbs and I, with your help and advice, are also planning a new open exhibition - 'Art+Text' which will bring to 44AD, in November, Bath‘s own version of a Book Art exhibition to complement, as well as contrast with, the annual event held earlier in the year in Bristol. We all hope, and think that this could be the first of what could well become an annual event here in the City, at 44AD in Abbey Street.
This new show will bring together work by artists from the region as a whole and is already being welcomed by those who know Bath and would enjoy the opportunity of showing their work here or of coming to Bath to see the exhibition.
“When I wrote the above letter of support we were planning the two exhibitions I mentioned; a second ‘Lost & Found’, this time with four new artists each showing for the first time at 44AD (as well as several showing for the second third or in my case the fourth time at 44AD) and an exhibition which included some wonderful new and previously unseen work by Sir Peter Blake, and the first Art+Text exhibition with more than 30 contributors including work from USA, German and Canadian Artists.
Both exhibitions looked very well in the space and attracted a large number of visitors and many favourable comments as have previous exhibitions.”
Housing an organisation like 44AD on that central site is an acknowledgement of the importance of living artists to the city, balancing the long-gone creative people who made the reputation of the city in times past.
Gallery 44AD is a vital resource in the centre of Bath, for local and visiting artists, tourists and Bath residents. Its central location near the Abbey reflects the diverse nature of Bath as a city of cultural and historic significance.
44AD also provides a unique opportunity for artists to work in a city which claims to embrace the arts, as advertised in many local publications.
To lose this valuable facility would be an enormous disappointment. Having recently hosted an exhibition for my late father, I was really touched by the interest shown by all who visited. Had the location been less central, the week would have been far less successful.
I run a small independent business, dealing in contemporary and post-war artists original prints (etchings, linocuts, lithographs etc). It is a business in the early stages of development, and 44AD has been invaluable in getting it off the ground. There is nowhere else in Bath available at such accessible rates, that offers such a fine showcase for original art; I have brought to Bath three significant contemporary artists, who have all been very well received, both by residents and visitors. The artists I exhibit are all of the highest standard; their work is characterised by its figurative and representational nature (ie, not abstract), and it all has the hallmark of distinctive artistic vision. The work has all been very well received, and sales have been successful enough to break even, and get the business going.
For anyone who cares about art and enterprise in Bath, 44AD is a very special place. Bath is a great city, with a wonderful heritage and history of creativity, but the opportunities for enterprising artists and arts orientated creative individuals are limited by extortionate rents and rates in the city. It can often seem that it is a city losing its way and becoming dominated by, and polarised between, bland corporate chain retailers at one end, and tuneless buskers and beggars at the other.
Although the artists I represent are well known in their specialist field, their work is affordable because they aren‘t household names. I have been able to bring their work to Bath, and start up a modest business bringing high quality original art that appeals to a wide local audience because of the unique facilities that 44AD offers. Many of the visitors I have had to my shows have stated very positively how much they appreciated being able to see such appealing and affordable original art. It is to Bath council‘s credit that they have enabled Katie O‘Brien to create and maintain 44AD.
I exhibited at 44AD with a group of experienced artists who are based at South Brewham in Somerset.
The gallery as a venue is truly inspiring, placed as it is right in the heart of Bath. We had many interesting conversations with visitors, they too were appreciating the energy and integrity of the space and the resident artists. 44AD enriches the cultural needs of the community.
44AD Art Space is made up of some of the warmest, most encouraging people I’ve ever met. This place is unique and generous in what it offers and there is nothing else in Bath quite like it.
My family and I, as post-graduates and under-graduates of Bath Spa University, have been fortunate to have been inspired and helped in our work by 44AD for several years.
44AD is undoubtedly a valuable community asset, being home to 18 working artists, offering free admission and accessibility to its exhibitions and working alongside local charities and education establishments. However, 44AD is also important to the City of Bath in other ways and it is crucial that it stays in its current location, in the heart of Bath‘s tourist area. In this unique location 44AD offers the visitor an insight into the real artistic and cultural heritage that makes Bath so special. I really hope 44AD can stay!
Sally Buchan Jones
44AD is a positive cultural asset for Bath, and in my opinion is an important attraction for tourism in the City. The Gallery hosts a constant range of exhibitions and talks by artists indigenous to Bath, and the surrounding area. It is particularly well situated in Abbey Street, and is efficiently run in a highly professional manner. I offer 44AD my full support in the hope that it will continue for a long time to come.
I have been lucky to be part of a few exhibitions at 44AD and I have really valued the exchange, not just with other artists, but also with the public. Creating the opportunity for this sort of exchange makes life richer, not only for the artists, but also for the community. Contemporary art addresses contemporary issues, which makes it relevant for the community. It is therefore important to have an exhibition and workspace, which is as central as possible to give easy access to as many people as possible.
Artist and Bath Spa Master of Fine Art Graduate 2012
44AD has been integral to my education, I‘ve taken classes on premises as well as gained essential practical experience in the running of a commercial gallery and studio space I would not otherwise have had access too.
Bath Spa student
I would like to say how important 44AD has been to me as a post MA emerging artist. The space of the gallery is exciting and dynamic and gutsy - perfect for new demanding work. There is nothing like it in Bath and it would be a tragedy if it disappeared. The studios are also a fantastic resource and I was lucky enough to be able to use one for a few months, where I developed work on a large scale which would have been impossible in my own small studio. The community of artists at 44AD is a thriving creative hub. It has only just begun, I hope it will be able to have a long and active life.
Artist and BSAD MA graduate
As an artist with a studio at 44AD, I feel privileged to have experienced at first hand the way that the space has developed into a vibrant Gallery Artspace in the centre of Bath under the visionary direction of Katie O’Brien.
Within a short span 44AD have metamorphosed into a creative centre whose gallery is constantly in demand as both a venue and exhibition area by artists and the public at large both within and outside of Bath. The open studios themselves provide excellent places for artists in which to develop their practice in a unique and stimulating environment. Life drawing classes take place on a weekly basis and new artists are always welcome to join them.
Visitors to the Gallery Artspace frequently comment that this is what the Bath art scene needs and the ambience has been likened to studio spaces in Berlin.
The City of Bath is well advised to do all it can to make sure that this visionary development of 44AD is allowed to flourish, as it has already shown that it has a great deal to offer the people of Bath and they would be the poorer without it.
44AD Studio Artist and Bath Spa Fine Art Graduate 2011
‘ASE’s students have found working with and visiting 44AD a hugely valuable experience. The current location gives community-focused contemporary art precisely the high profile in the city it needs, providing an indispensable complement to the more established historic art spaces.’
Dean and Director
Advanced Studies in England
44AD and other creative projects like it are incredibly important to the city of Bath, let’s get behind it and save this artistic treasure!
The Bath Brew House
14 James Street West
44AD provides a much-needed space to enable artists to realise ideas and concepts, a test bed, a forum for critical debate, a platform for those in the early stages of their practice to work alongside more established practitioners. Throughout its early successful time at the Chapel we have witnessed some wonders that could only happen here: film nights, talks, performance, workshops, music and much more.
These events are sometimes driven by the studio members but now the fame has spread; 44AD is attracting interest from outside the city thus bringing new ideas HERE, this creates the possibility to network and develop links adding to and enriching Bath’s creative fabric.
We have often thought and talked of such a space existing in Bath and now it does. I feel that 44AD does need to stay where it is now, a move could be detrimental to its continuing development; the proximity to City Bath College is excellent and is regularly used by the art students, as well as being just off the main shopping drag.
It is also a fantastic use of the Chapel space, complements music venue Chapel Arts opposite and has the potential to develop the square/park in to an area that is culturally worthwhile.
I see the project (44AD) in 5 years’ time as a known dynamic and exciting contemporary studios and art space which will be on the map both locally, regionally and hopefully nationally.
City of Bath Teacher, Artist and 44AD fan
As a volunteer at 44AD I have seen the gallery evolve since its conception and have come to realise the importance of this enterprise for the community of Bath as a whole.
Being a contemporary arts centre, it fills a much needed void, especially as Bath holds its school of art and design (Bath Spa University) as a major institution. 44AD acts not only as a gallery for emerging artists to exhibit and inhabit studio spaces, but as a potent reason to keep graduate students in Bath. As a recent graduate of Bath Spa University and a resident of Bath, I would consider the absence of 44AD a great loss to the city.
Artist, Bath Spa Ceramics Graduate 2013
44AD is an exciting work place and cultural hub where we have discussions, exchange ideas, and reflect on contemporary issues of our society. I feel prolific in this creative environment, and during this period in 44AD I have sold work in the UK and abroad.
44AD Studio Artist and Bath Spa Fine Art Graduate
44AD – a field report
In summer 2013 I moved to Bath for a year. Trying to get to know the city I took a ‘gallery map’ from the tourist information and went for a walk.
After a couple of stops my motivation got less and less since what I saw was mostly paintings in commercial tourist galleries and not what I expected under the term ‘contemporary gallery’ or ‘art-space’ – judging from my experience. Continuing my gallery walk in Bath I found myself at ‘Chapel Arts Centre’ and saw the 44AD banner in front of the ‘Old Pet Shop’.
I walked in and found what I actually was looking for!
Whilst walking through the show I had a chat with the gallery director Katie O’Brien who happened to be in the space.
Ignoring my bad English, she showed me around the building including the artist studios.
At that time I felt, that 44AD is a place, where art is shown without a commercial notion, it is not for sale, it’s for your enjoyment.
No limited print postcards and jam-packed displays, but rather a well curated exhibition bringing together different, contemporary works and artists into a context to show the artwork’s concept and beauty. In my opinion, this is a modern approach of how art has to be shown to the public, I was very happy to finish my walk by finding a great gallery space.
Chatting to Katie, I found out that her approach of showing art to the public is a special and well over-thought one; she wants to present art purely as what it is to let it talk by itself. There is no need of struggling to sell something since she tries to be funded entirely by the artists renting the upstairs studios, charity and fun events like art-quizzes and bingo nights as well as open shows.
I liked the idea of an open show, to only pay a couple of pounds to be part of a group show and asked if I could participate.
From this moment on I started engaging with 44AD a lot, exhibiting in open shows, being one of the 48-hour-artists, showing work at the Eightwonder summer show and many more.
Projects like for example the 48-hours-shows were important for artists in Bath, especially the students and younger ones to find a starting point to be encouraged to exhibit in a professional context in a public space as well as tightening bonds and connections to the regional arts scene – where new opportunities can evolve.
This is what happened exactly to me and I am sure I wouldn’t have had such a good start integrating myself in the British arts scene in the south west region if I didn’t exhibit at 44AD.
One example was, that Katie once connected to a pop-up gallery in Swansea and therefore exhibited the 48-hours artists at that space – hereby she connected many people to an area which was perhaps – in my case definitely – a new region to discover art at.
Furthermore, the space inhabits some great artists who are engaged in participating in a variety of events in town, where 44AD helps them by advertising in their mail-outs and social media.
Katie is very much committed to her space and is never tired and always friendly showing everybody around the building without asking about the visitors initial interest. Doesn’t matter if a potential sponsor walks in or a curious art student, everyone gets treated the same – with commitment to the project and respect to the visitor.
Katie makes it accessible and open for people to exhibit or engage in any other way with the gallery spaces.
Abbey Street as a central location; the space can reach a lot of people and also shows to the tourists, that there is a vibrant and accessible arts scene in town.
What I think is another positive thing about the space, is that only a small commission of any sold artwork is taken, which again shows that we are not talking about making money in the first place, but getting people together to see art, experience, learn and observe.
Despite of being such a unique and important space in town, 44AD cooperates with various charities and events to give them the opportunity of having a big central exhibitions space. By cooperation I am thinking of well organised collaborations as currently the Bath Folk Festival, Fringe Arts Bath, Dorothy House and many more charities and Festivals.
At Abbey Street, the workshop space allows studio artists to teach public workshops for little money. Furthermore, Katie opens up the studio once a week to the public, so people without the money or room for a studio space can find a place to work on their practice.
All in all, Katie organizes events, like open shows, prices, collaborations, events, residencies, workshops which attract a lot of people. Ergo, those things were needed in town and are still needed due to the high response from the public – which is visible at each public event.
Talking about my experience, I am very happy to have a good artist network in the south-west after three years in the UK which I couldn’t have built without accidentally walking into 44AD in 2013.
Now, I am working here at 44AD. The reason I‘ve stayed in Bath is not to gain experience for my CV, of which I have lots.
I believe in the value, that art can change people. Not the world, but how we approach, think about and experience it.
44AD makes this idea accessible, open and experienceable for everybody. There is no place else in Bath that drives so many various organizations, charities, artist communities and further creatives together within the thought of the drive of creativity.
Ignoring this impact would be inconceivable.
44AD sidekick, former Bath Spa International Student
As a Fine Art Masters graduate of Bath College of Art and Design 44AD has provided our community with a truly cutting edge and contemporary art space that is completely unique to Bath. The exhibition programme is diverse and provides established and emerging artists a genuine and supportive studio/gallery platform in which to showcase their work. As more creative companies and individuals are relocating to the South West 44AD can only be an ever increasing and valuable asset to our community and to Bath.
Andrea V. Wright
Winner of the exhibition prize at the Bath Open Art Prize 2016, Bath Spa MFA student
44AD is unique in Bath, an inclusive gallery which brings contemporary art to Bath with an inspiring and energetic programme of exhibitions and events, Bath needs more not less of these sort of venues, there is a danger of becoming another homogenous city of chain stores and cafes. The loss of 44AD would be a great mistake, a great loss to the contemporary cultural life of Bath.
44AD has played an important role in the nurturing and advancement of my artistic career. Having completed my MFA at Bath Spa University, 44AD provided me with my first chance to exhibit my work. Having the unique opportunity to talk to practicing artists, attend events and performances have all had a positive impact on my personal and other emerging artists practice. The loss of 44AD – a vibrant, contemporary community arts centre would be a great loss to Bath and the surrounding area.
Artist and Bath Spa Master of Fine Art Graduate 2012
The Society of Wood Engravers (SWE) was founded in 1920 and is delighted to be opening the 79th Annual Exhibition at 44AD Gallery. The SWE has over 80 members including Anne Desmet RA RE, Howard Phipps RWA RE and Hilary Paynter PPRE. The show is entirely open submission and this year includes 128 works by 94 artists. Two of the artist members live and work in Bath and give their time voluntarily to the SWE, a not-for-profit organisation. 44AD is a vital resource in the community allowing amateur artists to exhibit alongside emerging and established artists.
The Society of Wood Engravers (SWE)
44AD makes a vital contribution to the Arts in Bath and the surrounding area. It is a centre of excellence that energises the general community through an innovative programme of Educational workshops, exhibitions, talks, studios for resident artistic practitioners and much more. It is an inclusive, welcoming and supportive enterprise in the centre of Bath and should remain there as a fantastic resource for the residents of and visitors to the city, and the south West.
Artist and 44AD Associate
We formally hired 44AD for the July 2015 interim project exhibition, the gallery has provided valuable networking and creative support throughout the project. The July 2015 exhibition and screenings were very popular attracting a diverse range of visitors. The professionally managed space at 44AD proved to be excellent providing for the mix of installation, screening, discussion and traditional display we needed. The central location itself was equally valuable attracting tourist visitors engaged by the content and others not normally drawn to traditional art galleries. On this basis we have booked the space for the closing exhibition for the project in January 2017.
The exhibition will take place during the week of Holocaust Memorial Day 2017 and will be promoted widely by our supporters, nationally and internationally. This will be a significant contribution to Holocaust Memorial Day in the region. Our plans are now well in hand for the use of the space and it is therefore alarming to hear that 44AD may no longer be at its current central location. The gallery and the ability for working artists to have their studios in this location contributes significantly to the life and culture of a city currently being drained of its independence by commercial interests. It would be a further major blow to the life and liveliness of our city if 44AD were to go. A relocation out of the city centre would not be suitable or have the same networked cultural and economic value. It would also sadly mean that we may have to take our exhibition out of Bath thus weakening the city‘s contribution to Holocaust Memorial Day. We would be reluctant to do so, our supporters will of course be notified and will I am sure be equally disappointed.
Artist/Researcher, Senior Lecturer in Media Practice at Bath Spa University
44ad is in an amazing location right at the heart of bath! It promotes any visitors to engage with artists, whether it’s local or international artists. The gallery is always full of a passionate and great team to put together exhibitions weekly!
Don’t be silly, save 44ad!
Bryony Jade Throup
After completing a degree and Master of Fine Art at Bath Spa University, 44AD provided the perfect transition space to further develop my practice amongst fellow creatives. A studio space in the centre of Bath gives an artist the chance to 'get their work out there'. Open Studio days, visits from students from Bath College and Bath Spa University, give me and other resident artists, the chance to talk about and get feedback about their work from a wide ranging audience. Visitors including tourists from all over the world are given an insight into how artists work.
Master of Fine Art Graduate Bath Spa University
As a self-employed creative local resident in Bath, my painting studio at 44AD is a very special place. It's a tranquil space where I can be inspired, develop ideas and create new work without distraction. It's also a creative hub, where you'll find many local talented artists and like-minded people, creating Art - for the city to enjoy.
Designer and Illustrator
As a collaborative of working artists, we held a pop-up show at 44AD last November 2014 and plan to again this October. Finding pop-up venues, at an affordable price, isn't easy in Bath. 44AD is a great venue as it is in a central location and is immediately workable to hold art exhibitions.
Our show last year was very successful. Each exhibiting artist made a profit and the footfall through the week was consistent, with lots of customers commenting on the lovely, light space and asking when another show would happen. Over the six days we were open, we had a total of over 450 people through the door.
Spaces like 44AD are vital to keep the creative spirit of Bath going.
Ele Nash (on behalf of Time and Space Artists)