Initiated by the Czech Centre London, The Bouda Gallery project aims to create a brand new vibrant space for exhibitions, readings and design pop up shops while providing a base for Czech School Without Borders London. It will promote the Czech cultural scene, facilitate artistic exchange and develop creative practice through collaborations with international and UK-based artists.
Small in square footage but large in ambition – with a fantastic location just by Hyde Park and Noting Hill Gate – The Bouda Gallery is designed as an open hub welcoming arts, culture and education activities. We’ve missed a space like this in London, so we’ve decided to create our own and we’d like you to be a part of it.
How can you help?
The vast majority of the costs towards reconstructing The Bouda Gallery space are covered by the Czech Ministry of Foreign Affairs. However, we need to raise 10% of the remaining finances to complete The Bouda Gallery project, and to start reconstruction work on the building as soon as possible.
The building is in a very poor state and requires urgent waterproofing to be carried out this autumn. A proportion of the funds raised will be used directly for this purpose and other urgent repairs. The rest of the proceeds from the fundraising campaign will be used to purchase and install the necessary technical equipment and interiors of the space, so that it is fit for its new purpose as a gallery and project space.
For this we are relying on individuals for financial support and to join a new community of advocates for the project. Your support – small or large – will be greatly valued and appreciated, and as a small-scale project we will offer a close and engaged relationship with The Bouda Gallery’s future activities. Every donation we receive will directly support the project and the future production or presentation of new work by artists, writers, designers and those benefiting from the Czech School Without Borders’ activities.
All supporters will be invited to the official Bouda Gallery launch party.
In recognition of benefactors who support us by donating £500 or more, we can offer a range of benefits and activities detailed below. The most significant benefit is supporting the development of the project itself.
Patron’s Circle: £500+
Join an intimate circle of key supporters of the Bouda Gallery and participate in a close relationship with all the gallery’s activities.
Donations of £500 or higher will be acknowledged with
– Inscription of your name, or a name of your choice, to the Bouda entry wall.
– Invitations to privately hosted events with artists, writers and curators
– Invitation to the inaugural Buda Gallery Patrons’ dinner
– Opportunities to attend bespoke events such as studio visits with artists in residence, or informal access to the project’s development in discussion with the Directors
How it started
“When I first arrived to London, the space had already been empty for a while. It seemed like a no-brainer to turn it into a small gallery or project space. A venue where Czech and UK artists can display their art, create together, have lectures and talks. I feel there are less and less of such spaces particularly in West London and who else than a cultural institute should contribute to their revival. We soon partnered with the Czech School Without Borders to be a part of this project and make use of the space in the future for their workshops and other activities.
It took us a couple of years to develop the project and negotiate with all the stakeholders, but now we are finally on the right track and ready to open in 2018. The space is actually part of the Czech Embassy area, but separated from the main building. It´s small, charming and informal and we want to keep it that way.“
Director, Czech Centre London
History of the venue
Before the Czech and Slovak embassies were built, a small shop located at Notting Hill Gate belonged to Mr. Hall, who successfully ran a furniture repair and restoration business. In 1965, the store was sold to the Czechoslovak government. At the same time, Sarah and Collin Harris opened The Ark restaurant, which is now known as The Shed. The Shed remains famous among locals and even today, many public figures including politicians and members of the royal family dine at the restaurant.
1968 – 2013
In 1968 the building was rented out to Sheila Ramage, who opened the notoriously celebrated Notting Hill Books. According to Sarah Harris (owner of The Shed restaurant), Notting Hill Books was a “meeting point” for all intellectuals in the neighbourhood and very often the store was called Sheila’s shop.
“She has such a wonderful personality and sense of humour and knew so many writers and interesting people,” says Sarah. Early in 2012 Sheila closed the shop and the space has been empty since 2013.