Walking into a gallery can be intimidating, especially if you just want to browse, so displaying art in more informal settings can work well for both customers and artists. I have been delighted to hear about a local wine shop and two cafes supporting local artists:
Cellar Door Wines on London Road has an excellent local reputation for fine wine and guided tastings and last week they launched their first original art exhibition, by local artist Abby Reilly. Manager Holly Burslem explained that she had been looking for artists whose work would appeal to her customers as well as suit the tasting room and was delighted to discover Abby, a painter and art therapist living in St Albans. There are three paintings on show at the moment, with prices between £200-500.
The Courtyard Cafe on Hatfield Road has supported local artists for a while now and the art on the walls changes every few weeks so there is always something interesting to see. They recently hosted Open Studios and held a launch party for six exhibiting artists which owner Michael explained was very successful with many pieces selling on the night. Michael told me: “We like to support local artists and our customers enjoy being able to view art in a relaxed, informal setting. There is no pressure to buy and over a coffee people have time to appreciate the art on display”. I was pleased to see how affordable the art was, with handmade knitted and sewn items for a few pounds to gorgeous acrylic canvases priced under £200.
Apt Creations on Catherine Street is home to a small welcoming cafe and a studio where artists from the Camphill Trust create paintings, jewelry and ceramics. You can view the work while in the cafe and I was particularly impressed with the ceramic bowls by Lutz Krainhoefner who works and teaches with the trust. Prices for the bowls start at around £8, which is incredible value. Cards start at 80p for a printed design and £3 for hand-made, so ideal for something special. I picked up a card with a lovely painting of a kingfisher by JN Goodman. You can also enjoy their home-made cakes while viewing. Camphill have plans to open the shop opposite soon as a gallery for work, so do pop along there for a look.