It’s no secret that Lights of Soho is one of my favourite London venues, from what it stands for artistically, to what it represents culturally and last but never least, aesthetically. That said, I wanted to share a few thoughts here about the current #NOARTISTNOART campaign. The essence of the campaign is to raise enough money for Lights of Soho to become a self-funding and sustainable business, as well as aiming to push the government to reduce rates on cultural venues in Soho so that independent business are not being pushed out. Let’s be real, Soho has had its fair share of gentrification and independent venues like Lights hero our city’s integrity and diversity.
Ok, so for those of you that don’t know the venue that well, Lights of Soho is London’s neon spotlight – a social enterprise which provides a cultural hub for Soho’s creative community and providing a place for up and coming artists to display their work. As well as this all profits from the bar, art sales and events are put straight back into the venue with the directors and owners never taking a fee or wage in the two years of its operation.
In the words of founder Dudley Nevill-Spencer:
“Without a venue like Lights of Soho there will be almost nowhere in central Soho for new magazines, musicians, film makers, fashion designers, photographers and artists to promote their work for free. Sometimes the only difference between a song or art work only ever being heard or seen by your mates, and a big record deal or global art career is having the chance to show your work to a broad community. We have had support from some amazing artists and cultural icons as well as our Landlord, Shaftesbury Estate PLC, who are all committed to supporting the cultural creators of Soho, so please support culture, support artists, support Lights of Soho”.
Tonnes of other Soho venues are involved with the campaign including, Soho House, 76 Dean StreetThe Unit Gallery London, The Box, Blacks, Quo Vadis, Sanctum, Soho Radio, London Cocktail Club, Cass Art.
As a Soho kid who is also an artist, I implore you to get involved and take action where you can. The campaign culminates on Monday July 24th where original artworks from some amazing well known artists have been donated and will be raffled and auctioned.
Header photo: Nik Thakkar by Georgie Sidwick at Lights of Soho, art by Be Illuminated