Art Playground Cheltenham: Business Start Up

The thrills and spills of a social enterprise start up


The office is complete: Social Saturday

Art Playground Office Cheltenham Hot DeskOn 13 Sept we opened for Social Saturday (a national day for Social Enterprise) which was the perfect deadline to get everything finished in the office. I don’t work well without a deadline!

We got it done in time, just, and here are the results, including a few pics from the set up for the event. If you like blue and yellow a lot or just wants a break from working at home then you can join us and rent a hot desk space. There’s more info about hotdesking on our website here.












Art Playground Office Cheltenham Hot Desk





















Art Playground Office Cheltenham Hot Desk






















Art Playground Office Cheltenham Hot Desk





















Art Playground Office Cheltenham Hot Desk






















Art Playground 4

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Please DO Touch The Artwork

An interactive exhibition from Art Playground, 23 May- 7 June

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Beg, steal and borrow.

Nice article from The Guardian about effective ways of blagging it. 

As it says, the bonus of being a social enterprise is that people are more likely to want to help. I need to look at where I am going to try and call in favours and work out the line between “worth a shot” and “taking the piss”. It’s an important line that I don’t want to cross. The lovely thing about Cheltenham arts/ business is that people are generally very supportive and I really want to make sure I can be part of that both ways.

N.B. for the powers that be: whilst I fully intend to beg and borrow, I would like to make it clear that I don’t plan to steal. 


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What is the Art Playground?

Welcome to Art Playground Cheltenham.

It doesn’t exist yet. I am in the process of setting up a social enterprise- a business with a community benefit, where profits are distributed to support the social aims of the business. In this case, to encourage creativity and curiosity in adults and children, particularly through family learning. (and unofficially, to provide a creative, arty, friendly, vibrant community space in a town with a lot of slick, passive, arms-length experiences.)

In the very very early stages I looked for a blog someone had written whilst setting up a small business and couldn’t find one. So I am starting one and will post things I find out along the way, experiences, ideas etc in the hope that it may be useful to someone else doing the same.

The Art Playground will be a cross between an art gallery and an indoor playground, this is art you can explore, climb on, in and under. It will be for adults as much as children. Art Playground is like exploring a series of small worlds; a magician’s library, a multicoloured forest, underground caverns and painted mazes. I don’t believe that art should be about tip-toeing around empty galleries or that playgrounds, secret tunnels, hidden doors and clambering about and exploring should be off limits to adults (or children).

I am also planning to have a real food cafe with interesting veggie, vegan and gluten free options (there’s currently little to none in Cheltenham) as well as food for normal people. (I’m allowed to say that, I am a vegan, and a wheat-free, tee-total one at that. No wheat, no dairy, no fun.) and would love an outdoor space with re-purposed items as planters.

The whole thing will have a focus on recycled and re-purposed materials, acknowledging my great love for the car boot sale.

I also intend to build up a programme of events and workshops, offer birthday parties, provide a venue to hire and support a range of community and arts groups.

So that’s the plan. We’ll see what happens.