It’s been seven years since Seven Arts first came to Chapel Allerton and it’s had such a positive effect on the community that it is hard to imagine the area without it; it really is at the centre of public life here.
Indeed being located on Harrogate Road on the way out of town, gives Seven Arts a close proximity to many nearby areas such as Harehills and Headingley. On arrival, you are warmly welcomed by a building of a modern exterior, surrounded by a patio of outdoor furniture, perfect for a warm day. Just one of its many notable features compared to other similar community-based venues, is its physical prominence; its location and signposting highlights the venue where other organisations remain difficult to find.
On first entering Seven you are greeted by a welcoming table of fliers and information on events happening in the vicinity and across Leeds. You can either make your way to the events space on the left, or venture into the café, where the food on offer is locally produced and cooked to order. Food and drink is served by enthusiastic and welcoming staff and the menu is frequently rotated.
You can then enjoy one of Seven Arts’ many events, relax, or make use of the venue’s free Wi-Fi Internet connection and laptop sockets to get some work done. One thing to bear in mind though is the internet connection is occasionally weak and sockets are scarce, but for the most part I find a productive afternoon’s work can be spent on a computer here as you watch others from the community come and go.
The majority of events happen in the room to the left (accommodating between 70-120 people comfortably), or alternatively in the café bar. A particularly great thing about Seven is there is no doubt when something’s happening; an event means the café/bar area is bound to be full with others preparing to enjoy an evening of live music, theatre or another art form.
Seven Arts is very rarely quiet and there’s always an opportunity for people to get involved. Events range from art exhibitions, films, theatre, comedy (see Kill for a Seat Comedy Club) and music; I have personally enjoyed participating in the challenging Seven Arts quiz on Sunday nights! For upcoming and aspiring artists in the community, the venue offers local groups and artists a chance to perform at Seven Unplugged – a poetry group I attend regularly takes part in this event.
When reading up on the venue via their website, the rich variety of events is hardly surprising. Seven Arts’ premise is that of bridging the unparalleled arts with the local community and vice-versa; the community with the arts. This has remained at the centre of its values since its conception.
Seven owes a lot of its financial success to councils and organisations (e.g. European Regional Development Fund), private donations, sponsors and not least the café/bar. Indeed as an independent and not-for-profit venue with little funding, the organisation actively seeks to be consistently appealing to audiences from the thriving surrounding communities of Chapel Allerton and Leeds.
Seven Arts then is one example of a community space that has achieved, and continues to maintain its aim of being an approachable arts centre for Chapel Allerton and the surrounding communities. It is an organisation that does not feel out of place in an area that has many other related facilities. Before Seven arrived in 2007, I feel an arts centre was the one thing missing from Chapel Allerton, and I therefore believe that the venue has completed the suburb in a lot of ways. It was the hard work and vision of the 7 people on the board of Directors which made this artistic necessity a reality.
Seven Arts is open to customers each day from 10:30am-12am.
Address: Seven Arts, 31A Harrogate Road, Leeds, LS7 3PD
Visit www.sevenleeds.co.uk for information on upcoming events.
Tickets are also available via firstname.lastname@example.org or on 0113 262 6777
Filed under: Music