PaperArts: Bristol Social Enterprise for Independent Art

Lurking in the heart of Bristol lies a gem of culture – PaperArts, a social enterprise for independent art. It’s an organisation that developed gradually, as a recurring art publication to temporary pop-up shops to now becoming a cultural art hub. It’s taken its permanent residence at Broadmead, sticking out as a higher reference point in the core commercial centre.

As it stands, the organisation now offers a low-cost gallery space for up and coming artists, and hosts the ‘Co-Lab’ shop, the largest independent arts shop in Bristol, selling artworks and hand-made craft by more than a 100 local independent artists, some of whom have now grown into urbanized brands.

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It also has a studio space upstairs where 17 artists of mixed fields have taken residence, and  a workshop space that’s used for recurrent workshops, monthly industry talks, paid internships and placements for people who’re looking to take their first step in the creative industries.

Paper recently hosted a group exhibition of the studio artists, and is now promoting Bristol School of Art’s multidisciplinary exhibition that will run through March 31st. Other current events include an origami workshop, life-drawing sessions, and Get Started with Art, a free programme open to any young person looking to develop new creative skills. Last month’s speakers at

PaperArts industry talks included: designer, speaker, and author Elliot Jay Stocks, fashion stylist and designer Celia Arias, and contemporary photographer Buki Kushoni.

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Simone Kidner, managing director, explains that PaperArts stands for a grassroots organisation that aims to open up new opportunities for the community to make a living through creativity, a brave a noble vision. The organisation’s focus, therefore, is to teach creative people how to make an income from their talents, skills and passions, while doing their fulfilling work.

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Established only a year ago, February 2014, Paper has quickly developed a sustainable business model that supports its social mission. By generating income to sustain itself and maintaining independence, it’s admirably overcoming the challenge of competing against the for-profit surroundings. With all these projects under its belt, Paper serves as a creative and relaxing breathing point for city visitors, soon to include a cafe as another incentive to spend quality time in this inviting place.