We love Chelsea Road!

We love our home on Chelsea Road in Bath. Chelsea Road is a little shopping street full of independents tucked between the residential areas of Newbridge and Weston on the west side of Bath. There is a fantastic greengrocer, hairdressers, a deli, café, and gift and beauty shops. Just 2 minutes walk away the new Bath school of art and design Locksbrook building has opened bringing a vibrant community of art students and academics to the area. It’s an energetic, bustling place with a constant flow of activity happening up and down the street all day long. Our neighbours have been so welcoming and I feel very lucky to have landed in a place with such a strong community ethos. There are exciting things happening on this little street…Rooted a vegan / vegetarian café bar resides at the lower end of the street and we’re very excited to be collaborating together on Artist talk Supper clubs: our first one in on Friday 8th November exploring the work of artist Julie Dean whose exhibition ‘Right Behind You’ runs from 29th October-16th November at The Art Cohort.

Kat Dawe Schmeisser – 29th October 2019

Full of life

Samuel Lindup’s exhibition FULL OF LIFE is currently on show in The Art Cohort exhibition space. Vibrant, vivid…literally full of life, Sam’s work is a response to the climate crisis our world is facing and is inspired by recent activism, in particular the climate strikes and Extinction Rebellion interventions. It’s certainly a vibrant response, but can we think of it as a hopeful response?

The pieces of work in the current exhibition explore nature and the damage humankind has inflicted on our planet. Sam calls upon tribal imagery to recollect prehistoric times when humans and nature lived in a symbiotic way, before industrial advancements inflicted injury on the natural world we are reliant on. The colour in the work celebrates the brilliance and beauty of the natural world.

The artist’s musings extend into planetary imagery, imagining what would we do as humankind if we had a fresh start, another planet in the universe…would we do it all differently? We all know we don’t have another planet and climate crisis is a global issue and the timelines to act are short, experts say we have less that 12 years to be able to reverse the process of climate change before we rapidly move towards human extinction. We need to work together and act now.

This show of artist work feels fresh, topical and so very of the now.  When the largest work, Nature Comet, arrived with us it was so fresh and new that the paint was still drying and that in many ways is emblematic of the conversation the artist is trying to spark.

Kat Dawe Schmeisser – 8th October 2019

And so it begins…

And so it begins…on the eve of opening The Art Cohort at 13 Chelsea Rd in Bath I’m reflecting on the place this new artspace will have in the artistic life of the city of Bath. It has been a treat being in the space over the last two weeks while we have been fitting out…transforming the inside from carpeted office space to sleek elegant exhibition space and hopefully inviting learning space…so many people have popped in to see what’s going on (local residents, artists, neighbours, friends), enquire about what we’re doing and what the plans for what the space will become, and express interest and delight in a dedicated arts place coming into this vibrant residential area.

Of course many in the area know (but many also do not know) that the Bath School of Art & Design will open in the former Herman Miller building (a mere 3 minute walk away from The Art Cohort) next week on 7th October 2019 bringing an influx of an artistic community of students and academics to this part of Bath. To give some context for those of you reading who may not be familiar with the city of Bath or this part of Bath, Chelsea Road is a small shopping street in a residential area of Bath to the west of the centre of the city. It’s a vibrant place, with 3 cafes, independent shops, a couple of gift shops and an utterly charming greengrocers. It’s about to get a heck of a lot more vibrant once the students arrive….I’m looking forward to observing this change and how the culture and laid back independent ethos currently in Chelsea Road thrives or survives? Interestingly, I’ve been talking to an artist about how we might document the current culture of the street before the shift happens….more on that another time. 

But this movement of the most significant Arts institution in Bath to the riverside and Locksbrook area almost certainly marks a turning point in the artistic life in Bath. Bath is a grand, beautiful and weightily historic place…small in size but huge in historical resonance. The grand architectural Crescents, the much narrated nostalgia of Georgian social life and the great standing and tourist appeal of this aesthetically wonderful city is suffocating for an art ‘scene’ to happen. Spaces and places for Art in Bath are limited, the ones that exist are pretty hidden and compared to our geographically close neighbour, Bristol, whose art scene is prominent, edgy, gritty and vibrant, we’re lacking much punch. 

But is that changing? I very much hope so…and The Art Cohort represents a little step in that change. We’re deliberately there at the vanguard of the shift of Art out of central Bath…away from the historical buildings that suffocate a more contemporary narrative, embracing the light industrial landscape of the Locksbrook area and reimagining creative thinking in this city.