Do art and coffee go together? Working in the studio or writing, it certainly seems to be the case. What about the exhibition space? What about the cafe-gallery as a model?
In 2.5 years running an artist run space (Studio75) one of our aims was to bring art to people who don’t normally go to galleries, and this worked pretty well. Our next move was to create a “gallery” The Yellow Wall, inside an existing café [http://www.studio75.org.uk/yellowwall]. Again the idea was to bring art out of the specialised space and into people’s daily lives.
We are still assessing the import and value of this. In some respects, the art just becomes a backdrop of the food and drink, a décor. Is this a bad thing, necessarily? If we want art to be everywhere, a part of the fabric of our daily lives, then perhaps we should not be worried about this. The shows are popular.
On the other hand it is pretty clear that people are not willing to buy art from a café wall. We have had enquiries but no sales. Yet the same works sold once out of the café, for higher prices. Although sales is not our main reason for doing this, it is an interesting phenomenon.
Lastly, when we did informal calls for artists, we did not get any good submissions and so we have relied on inviting people. Perhaps a café wall does not have enough cachet as an exhibiting space.
All food for thought.