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.
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.
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.
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.
DIGITAL POSTCARD #1. YOU DIG?
A thanks on FB and Twitter in the form of a funky digital postcard designed by Happy. You might make someone else happy by sending it to them ... tell them about Happy's Kickstarter campaign while you're at it, ok :)
DIGITAL POSTCARD #2. YOU DIG? A thanks on FB and Twitter in the form of a funky digital postcard designed by Happy. You might make someone else happy by sending it to them ... tell them about Happy's Kickstarter campaign while you're at it, ok :)
DIGITAL POSTCARD #3. YOU DIG? A thanks on FB and Twitter in the form of a funky digital postcard designed by Happy. You might make someone else happy by sending it to them ... tell them about Happy's Kickstarter campaign while you're at it, ok :)
DIGITAL POSTCARD #4. YOU DIG? A thanks on FB and Twitter in the form of a funky digital postcard designed by Happy. You might make someone else happy by sending it to them ... tell them about Happy's Kickstarter campaign while you're at it, ok :)
DIGITAL POSTCARD #5. YOU DIG? A thanks on FB and Twitter in the form of a funky digital postcard designed by Happy. You might make someone else happy by sending it to them ... tell them about Happy's Kickstarter campaign while you're at it, ok :)
A thanks on FB and Twitter in the form of a funky digital postcard designed by Happy. You might make someone else happy by sending it to them ... tell them about Happy's Kickstarter campaign while you're at it, ok :) PLUS your name on the credits of the film from Happy's opening night party.
DEAR FRIEND, HAPPY BIRTHDAY! XXX Nice to send a message via social media on your friend's birthday, much nicer still for them to receive a card in the post, so nominate a friend and we'll send them a real birthday card in the post, designed by Happy, from you and us.
HAPPY TRAVELS. A really charming set of, no less, hand printed and hand cut photo prints (each measuring approx. 70mm x 70mm) These are of walks in the English Lake District, inspired by the early photographic souvenirs from the beginning of the 20th Century. They`re produced by local artist David Hurn and beautifully packaged (take a look at the pictures on
the left). David Hurn is a class photographer and uses vintage cameras and real film, which is detailed on the packaging.You`ll be thanked on FB, Twitter and our websites too.
HAPPY HIGH FIVE! A thanks on FB, Twitter and our websites, and a pack of five unique postcards designed by Happy, printed on 350gsm card from sustainable sources and chlorine free, mailed to you anywhere in the world with no shipping costs.
HAPPY: IT'S VINTAGE.
A hand printed silkscreen print of a vintage Lubitel 2 TRL camera printed on A4 white cartridge paper, by local artist David Hurn.
+ A set of limited edition postcards from Happy's first ever exhibition 'The Collectors' (a series of portraits by Happy's co-founder, photographer Gavin Wilson.) You'll be thanked on FB, Twitter and our websites too.
HAPPY TO GET CREATIVE? A thanks on FB, Twitter and our websites of course, but this reward is mostly about sending you a goodie bag of art-related materials with a Cumbrian theme. Maybe you'll mail us pics of what you created?
HAPPY TEE. A thanks on FB, Twitter and our websites + an fairly traded, organic cotton t-shirt with a limited edition print designed by Happy. Check out the pics to the left on our project page: We reckon the Border Collie is a Cumbrian icon, but ours is a cheeky nod to both Argentinian and Cuban legends. Please state S, M, L or XL. Thanks.
HAPPY: IT'S VINTAGE.
A hand printed 4 layer silkscreen print of a vintage Lubitel 2 TRL camera printed on A4 brown cartridge paper with the spiral bound perforations to the left, by local artist David Hurn.
+ A set of limited edition postcards from Happy's first ever exhibition 'The Collectors' (a series of portraits by Happy's co-founder, photographer Gavin Wilson.) Your name will also be neatly placed in vinyl lettering on Happy's pledgewall within the retail space of the gallery and the bookstore. You'll be thanked on FB, Twitter and our websites too.
YOU HELPED HAPPY HAPPEN. Your name on Happy's permanent pledgewall, neatly placed in vinyl lettering, within our retail space in the gallery and bookstore. We reckon this wall could be an ice-breaking conversation piece, but we've only room for 100 names. You'll be thanked on FB, Twitter and our websites too.
HAPPY IN THE GARDEN.
We know a thing or two about the art of the garden, and will personally deliver four beautiful shrubs to you in the Spring, which each represents one of the four seasons. This one-off reward for a Cumbrian based recipient only, is offered to you in conjunction with our amazing friend Michael from welcometoouterspace.co.uk. You`ll be thanked on FB, Twitter and our websites too.
HAPPY CHRISTMAS! In December of this year, Debbie and Gavin are hosting a magical, intimate Christmas show in Cumbria with Scottish musician James Yorkston, no less. Pledge £200 or more and we'll send you a VIP pass to this gig. You'll not be disappointed, he's an amazing musician. How about dinner too, with our 'Happy' family? Our treat. The gig is on Tuesday evening, 17 December, in the beautiful location of Gilcrux Village Hall. More info about James here: http://www.jamesyorkston.co.uk/
For a lady or gentleman. A specially commissioned solid silver ring, hallmarked at Edinburgh Assay office. Designed and made especially for Happy by local artist Mark Peter Fraser. A silver band incorporating Happy in the design, strictly limited to an edition of 5. Should you choose this reward, we will be in touch for size details.
A large, finely painted unique artwork by local artist Ursula Jane Brown. 'Lunella' is 120cm in height, 80cm in width and 4cm deep. Acrylic on canvas. See our story to the left of this page to see two images of Lunella, one is a detail. Ursula's site: http://www.creativeferret.co.uk
SO HAPPY TOGETHER.
A private party for twenty five culture-loving folk here at Happy. We'll provide a glass of fizz on your arrival, canapes from our friends Wild Zucchinis and a world music DJ. You provide 24 friends. The suggested summer month of August is negotiable. Talk to us, happy to help :)
HAPPY PATRONS. This reward is perhaps most suited to an individual who runs, or is involved in, a business or organisation. Donate £1000 or more and become a Happy Patron. This means your name/brand/website will be listed in all promotional printed material as an exhibition patron (we're planning on having 6 exhibitions a year at least). Moreover, your name/brand/website will be permanently displayed on both our websites under an elegant-looking, section called 'Happy's Patrons' with a click through to your site or what you're all about. We're figuring that you run a fantastic, creative and responsible organisation, right? Otherwise you wouldn't be looking here on Kickstarter! :)