Happy. An Art Gallery and out-of-the-ordinary Bookstore
Happy. An Art Gallery and out-of-the-ordinary Bookstore
An Art Gallery and out-of-the-ordinary bookstore. Help 'Happy' Happen in a historic building on the border of England and Scotland
An Art Gallery and out-of-the-ordinary bookstore. Help 'Happy' Happen in a historic building on the border of England and Scotland Read more
About this project
Update: Monday 28 October, 2013
Thank you. We've the opportunity to take Happy forward. This may not have happened in such a big way without the interest generated by social media feeds, BBC Radio Cumbria, press releases, blogs, websites and, of course, Kickstarter. This is just the start of our journey and yet there are already dozens of individuals, businesses and organisations to thank.
We hope to be open in the early part of next year, and would love to tell you more right now but have to be patient! Meanwhile, 'Happy' will be launched as a beautiful, interactive website, which will include an online store, in the coming weeks.
Best, Debbie Taylor and Gavin Wilson. X
Hello we're Debbie Taylor and Gavin Wilson. Our dream is to open a unique, independent art gallery and out-of-the-ordinary bookstore which will be called ‘Happy’ in the 'Border city' of Carlisle, in Cumbria, England. 'Happy' will be a 'Community Interest Company', which is a form of social enterprise. Does the name have anything to do with Carlisle being voted Britain’s happiest city? No, that really is a happy coincidence!
"Happy. Banging the drum for creative Cumbria and the Borders of Scotland, generating social and economic benefits through free-thinking, enterprising activity."
An Introduction to our Project
We've found the ideal space, it's a historic townhouse-style property with heaps of potential in the heart of the city.
Imagine Happy, if you will, as a welcoming ‘open house’ – styled accordingly, not an intimidating ‘white cube’ gallery – no way! And yet, the front room would display six exhibitions a year of merit: design-led furniture, ceramics, paintings, photography or sculpture. A retail space, meantime, would offer not only art and design-related books, but cards, unique postcards and funky stationery, design-led furniture, jewellery and studio pottery.
If you fancy getting creative yourselves, Happy will also be selling locally made pencils, paper, paints and pastels, even vintage cameras which you'll also be able to hire inexpensively.
There's more. Happy will offer contemporary and 20th Century Decorative Arts too. We've been totally inspired, for instance, by the campaign antiquesaregreen.org. Besides, Gavin is a total geek when it comes to vintage objects and treasures. He loves cleaning objects up, showing them off and talking about them with boundless enthusiasm and knowledge “until the cows come home.” For our American friends we believe that’s a phrase with a Scottish origin, which makes Gavin, a Scot, very happy.
For sure, Happy will represent many artists and makers from Cumbria and the Borders, but we want to introduce our visitors to the work of both emerging and established artists from an international scene as well.
Nothing like quite like Happy will have happened here in Cumbria before, Happy is a first.
Happy will be Cumbria’s first ever storefront gallery and bookstore that's operated entirely as a Community Interest Company (CIC) limited by guarantee. That’s a significant step, because it would help to reinforce the message that social enterprise means business. That is, social enterprises are all kinds of businesses. Social enterprise doesn’t have all the answers but we both believe it can go some way in advancing the reform of capitalism. For us, being a regulated social enterprise means we take a modest salary and any profit made has to be reinvested into Happy to make it stronger. Further down the line, as Happy evolves after three years, we’ve nominated the established, independent organisation Cumbria Community Foundation to receive a share of Happy’s profits. They “provide a means by which people and organisations can make a difference to the most disadvantaged people in our community.”
Know that by helping Happy happen in Carlisle, and buying any product from us, you are investing your money directly back into the creative sector and supporting an ethical business.
Happy will help artists and makers based in Cumbria and rural Scotland, they work in highly competitive markets and many are faced with economic, demographic and infrastructural challenges. We've a number of artists and makers that also want to be represented outside of the county, so plan on seeing a pop-up Happy at some of London's art fairs - banging the drum for Cumbria and the Borders.
Moreover, Happy would help to put Carlisle on the map. It would be the only authentic storefront venue for original and contemporary art and design-led products in the city, and would add value to our visitors' experience of Carlisle and the existing cultural scene in Carlisle.
We want to raise the money ourselves to make Happy happen. Kickstarter is the best crowd funding platform in the world for creative projects, so it means we've potential to communicate with likeminded, creative people rather than the usual corporate sources or banks.
What will your pledges be used for?
First and foremost know that your pledges will secure Carlisle's ONLY authentic, independent storefront art gallery. Further, this will be Cumbria's first ever gallery and indie bookstore that is operated entirely as a Community Interest Company. How cool is that.
Your pledges will secure the ideal space, which needs a little attention, purchase fixtures, fittings and products, organise exhibitions, events and workshops and make sure everybody knows where we are.
Friend us on Facebook and Twitter.
Pleased to meet you! We're on FB here: www.facebook.com/bangyourdrumcommunications, or www.facebook.com/debbiemichelletaylor or www.facebook.com/GavinWilsonImages and we're here too: www.twitter.com/bangyourdrum or www.twitter.com/helphappyhappen
Our Latest Film
To our friends Straw Stars for the use of their excellent tune Playground of the World from the album strawstars.bandcamp.com/album/straw-stars
To our friend Colin Graham for the use of some beautiful vintage objects. colingrahamantiques.com
Whether you decide to back our project or not, everyone should listen to this, on BBC Radio 4, it's uplifting, inspiring, funny, thought-provoking and the best thing we've heard in ages! Click on the link below.
"In the first of four lectures, recorded in front of an audience at Tate Modern in London, the artist Grayson Perry reflects on the idea of quality and examines who and what defines what we see and value as art."
Risks and challenges
Heaps of experience and enthusiasm doesn't mean we're underestimating what's involved here. No way.
This is a labour of love, months in the planning, and yet we've to substantiate our social enterprise responsibility claims and make Happy a viable, sustainable business. So many challenges. Perhaps one of the biggest is getting people to know we're here.
If you'd like to speak to us in more detail, or review our business plan, even, please fire away with your questions. We'll answer them quickly, honestly and professionally.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
Support this project
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