I walk past 204 almost everyday taking my small children to school. Normally art doesn't interest me much
but I must say that looking to see what is currently on show in the windows, is both a treat and a fascination for me and
also for my children. It is always interesting, although I often don't understand it, but we often finish
our walk to school talking about what we have seen.
A local mum
204 was a marvellous inspiring place. Freed from the constraints of commercialism it provided unestablished artists with a
springboard towards wider fame. It was only possible due to the rates policy of Bristol City Council. This must continue if
Bristol is to grow as a primary arts centre in the UK.
be said that during the five years of its existence, other arts spaces have sprung up along similar models, and they in turn
have provided the raison d'Ítre for people to visit Gloucester road as day trippers. This has encouraged general trade and
(unlike elsewhere in Britain,) encouraged more successful small businesses in the direct area.
So it can be seen that by helping to provide rates relief for space for art, Bristol council
has indirectly helped itself to generate more local rates payments from more and more businesses. This has been, and should
continue to be, both philanthropic and good business for the council. Nothing more to say really!
Windows 204. A space for meeting, for nurturing creative talent, for channeling
positivity, for creating the good at a difficult economic time, run by people who choose to place community ahead of a profit
motive, should be cherished as a beacon, a way of creating and improving communities, and of ensuring that a vibrant creative
cultural life is made available to the whole community. To choose to tax such a philanthropic endeavour would surely be an
absurd act of vandalism, working against the interests of the whole community, both in the short and long term, and leave
the city the poorer as a result.
‘Windows 204 is one of the great little places that provide a seedbed for creative businesses
to grow. Without low cost opportunities to exhibit and experiment many small scale producers and experimental makers have
little chance to bring their work to the public eye. Its too expensive to hire high street spaces. If fresh, contemporary
work is to reach the public, high street places are invaluable. Much contemporary art can only be viewed by those who
know where to look and are able to seek it out in odd, tucked away places. Finding new ideas when you pop out for sugar is
what we need. Windows 204 was part of that Bristol magic.’
I came to Bristol to do an MA in Fine Art, and a crucial part of that course has been organising exhibitions.
During the three years of the course I have participated and shown in seven exhibitions in Bristol, all of them have been
in rate exempt premises. The very interesting curatorial project in Windows 204, 204/2010, was the first show I was involved
with in Bristol and it was a very formative event and brought quite a number of new artists together.
The fantastic opportunity enabled by Windows204 has been so valuable and perhaps the part of the course through which I
have learned most. None of those shows would have happened without Rate Relief and clearly Bristol would be a duller and less
artistically active city without such help from the council.
yours Anwyl Cooper-Willis
The closure of Windows204
I was sad to note the closure of Windows204, as this long
running space created opportunities for a wide range of artists to share their
work with the local community. The presence of the gallery also contributed to
the development of that stretch of the Gloucester Rd as a vibrant and welcoming
I am very grateful to Deborah for giving me the chance to
show my work at Windows204: it was very useful part of a process of moving my
artistic practice into a more public arena.
I am alarmed that Bristol City Council is planning to cut
rate relief for non-profit arts organisations. This seems a very short sighted
measure as these ventures contribute so much to the local community and support
struggling artists at very little cost. The energy, imagination and enthusiasm
of people engaged in such enterprises is invariably given freely and helps to
generate the exciting creative environments that our city prides itself upon.
"Windows204 provided a fantastic opportunity for
myself as an emerging artist by giving me the opportunity to create my first installation viewable to the public. This enabled
me to secure following exhibiting opportunities in various gallery spaces by showcasing what I could do given the opportunity"
I became aware of Windows204 as soon as it was up and running - you couldn't help but notice the
innovative,thought-provoking art installations. There had been nothing like it before locally,and it sparked off many different
projects and events.
I was fortunate to be involved with an annual group show for 1 month of the year.This was invaluable
to me as a self-employed artist and brought me into contact with so many people involved in a similar business.I feel very
lucky to have been given this opportunity and will very much miss Windows204 as a creative platform bringing artists and the
community together. It certainly brought new life to a stretch of the Gloucester road that was struggling ,and although
some still remain ,Windows204 departing, has left a grey,blank space ...literally !I'm hoping something will emerge to replace
Many,many thanks 204,
I really appreciated the chance to do a solo show in
Windows204 for a week. It was a fantastic experience and I had a really good response from passersby. I also loved checking
out what was going on when I passed by that part of town. Wish there were more places like it all over Bristol, offering young
and old an opportunity to show case their work to the public. It's things like this that make Bristol a great, vibrant, creative
and interesting place to live.
I am writing as a local artist who has benefited from the
facilities provided by Windows 204 on Gloucester Road.
I have exhibited my work on several
occasions (in group shows) at Windows 204 over the last five years. The reaction by the public to these temporary exhibitions
has been overwhelming. The increased footfall to that stretch of Gloucester Road during "pop up shows" is clear for
anyone to see. Not only does it provide an affordable exhibition space for people like me to show my work, it acts as
a talking point for the local community, who appreciate that "we are there", aesthetically enhancing and adding value
to their local shop fronts, increasing footfall, getting people to spend money. As an artist, I am constantly having to
justify my existence, and "fight" for my right to make a living. On many occasions I have gained new clients because
they "saw my work at 204" and would like to buy or commission a piece of work. Artists need places like Windows 204
to help us promote our work and support us in forging a living. It is an important part of the creative food chain of your