The Art House announces departure from Above Bar Street

The Art House will be leaving its permanent base of 15 years on Above Bar Street in March.

The shock announcement was made on social media on Friday, with the team saying the decision was made after ‘a lot of heart-to-heart discussions’.

Not only an arts venue, but the grassroots venue is also a pillar of the city community, offering an inclusive meeting place to enjoy music, food, and company of likeminded people.

Breaking the news, they said: “We’ve decided not to continue our lease at 178 Above Bar Street and will be leaving this beloved building at the end of March 2024.

“Like many grassroots venues out there, we’ve been feeling the squeeze.

“Keeping our doors open in a building of this size is becoming tougher, especially in these challenging economic times.

“We thought it would get easier over time, but it’s actually the opposite.

“Expenses have gone up; income has gone down.”

READ MORE: Revolucion set to close due to ‘disproportionate’ cost of living strain

The team also cited a ‘noticeable drop’ in volunteers, gig attendees and regular financial backing.

A noticeable impact has also been had on those in the community who are marginalised, the ‘very folks we’re passionate about supporting’.

But supporters will be reassured to know this is not the end of The Art House story.

The team said: “Exciting things are on the horizon, even as we say goodbye to our current home.

“Remember, The Art House is not just about a physical space – it’s about the community and the spirit we’ve built together.

“Our beloved community pantry is a priority, and we’re exploring new places to continue this vital service. Our Moving Voices open mic night is going to be, well, moving.

“The ARTlotment isn’t going anywhere – we’ll continue growing and sharing delicious produce and growing ideas from there.

“We’re brainstorming about pop-ups and partnerships to keep our vision alive.”

READ NEXT: ‘We are all devastated’: Southampton nightclub to close permanently

They added: “We’re fully aware that this news isn’t just sad; for many, it’s going to be really hard to take in.

“The Art House has been more than just a venue – it’s been a community, a safe space, and a source of joy for so many.

“We’re announcing this now so that there’s time for us all to come together, to share memories, and to cherish this space while we still can.”

Daily Echo | What’s On