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The community art cafe unlocking Manchester’s inner artists

Art Club UK is sparking creativity and enriching lives through diverse art classes
Manchester's Art Club UK

Step into the vibrant world of Angela Lock, a creative visionary with a burning passion for art.

In her lifelong quest to reignite the spark of creativity often smothered by our checkbox-driven society, Angela Lock founded the UK Art Club, an art cafe sanctuary where individuals of all ages can embrace their inner artists.

With a profound background in textile design spanning over two decades, Angela recognised the transformative power of creativity and sought to share it with the world.

Her mission is to break free from the shackles of conformity, offering the people of Heaton Moor and Manchester a chance to rediscover the joy of self-expression and the profound healing qualities of art

Angela Lock’s inspirational journey

Angela Lock at Art Club UK

For Angela Lock, Art Club UK is the culmination of a lifelong passion for art and a deep-seated desire to rekindle creativity in a world that sometimes seems too focused on ticking boxes.

Angela has previously worked in textile design for over twenty years, always been involved in the creative industries.

She saw first-hand the therapeutic and transformative potential of creativity.

Angela explained one of their reasons for setting up.

“I set up Art Club UK because there was so many clubs in our area for sport and drama, but none for art.

“The classes gained popularity very quickly and there was soon a waiting list.

“However, it’s not all about art, it’s about socialisation, relaxation, mindfulness and confidence-boosting.

“Tapping into the imagination and being creative can be extremely therapeutic – it builds resilience, promotes problem-solving skills, and boosts good mental health.

“I think this is something that everyone should have an opportunity to explore, and that’s what we’re all about at Art Club UK.”

Angela firmly believes that creativity is not just a pastime but a valuable tool for personal growth and well-being, one that is often neglected in our schools.

The birth of the Art Club UK

The idea for the UK Art Club was conceived back in 2018 when Angela started running art classes at various venues in the area.

These classes quickly gained popularity, providing an outlet for adults and children to explore their creative sides.

But it was the tumultuous period of the COVID-19 pandemic that served as the catalyst for change.

“One of the most awesome things is our life drawing classes. I’ve overheard people saying, wow, I’ve not done this for twenty years and forgot how much I enjoyed it – and that for me, is really empowering.

“I want people to embrace their inner artists, and use their creativity to express themselves and feel good. That’s what we’re all about.”

Angela Lock at Art Club UK

Angela realised that the need for art education and creative outlets was more critical than ever, especially when traditional school art programs were, unfortunately, being put under pressure to focus on traditional academic success.

Her vision was clear: to create a space where people could connect, artists could showcase their work, and creativity could flourish.

This creative sanctuary offers a diverse range of art classes, covering everything from printmaking, painting, drawing, photography, and creative writing to traditional crafts like macramé, candle-making, and jewellery.

Angela continued: “I went to an academic school and I found it really hard to keep up. I was really sporty but that wasn’t hugely encouraged, the next thing I was good at was art– it was escapism for me, a place where I shone.

“At 16 I left that school and pursued a BTEC in general art and design and I did modules in every conceivable discipline, but it was the life drawing and textiles, that really when I did those, It felt utterly right.

“I have been drawing, designing and teaching ever since.”

The UK Art Club combines the joy of artistic expression with the comfort of a welcoming cafe environment.

Imagine sipping on your favourite beverage from a fully stocked bar, surrounded by revolving art exhibitions that serve as a backdrop to your creative journey.

Courses to explore

The UK Art Club offers an array of exciting courses to suit various interests and skill levels:

Life Drawing Classes: Step into the captivating world of life drawing. For just £15, you can participate in sessions that offer a deeper understanding of human form and artistic expression.

Adult Art Class: A comprehensive course for £105 that covers various art techniques, mediums, and styles to help you discover your unique artistic voice.

Creative Writing Course (10-week): Join this engaging course for £150, starting on September 5th, to explore the world of words and stories.

Lampshade Making Workshop: Get hands-on in a two-hour workshop for £45 and craft your very own personalised lampshade. Next course starts in January

Recycled Art Course: Starting on November 9th, this £60 course led by recycled art facilitator Mo teaches mixed media techniques using recycled materials.

Adult Art (Wednesday): While this course is fully booked, it’s a testament to the club’s popularity. Stay tuned for upcoming sessions that offer mixed-media drawing, painting, and printing.

Christmas Wreath Workshop: As the festive season approaches, for £60, you can create your own Christmas wreath with Liv from Sweet Buds Floral.

A Sunday Thing: Priced at £12, this experience is exclusively for those over 16, offering a relaxed Sunday afternoon hosted by BBC’s Chris Warburton interviewing DJ’s, music, and producers with live performances and DJ set.

With a variety of classes, ranging from upholstery, painting, printing, sewing, and flower arranging (to name but a few) the UK Art Club strives to cater to all interests and skill levels.

For kids and teenagers, they’ve got Lego-making classes and all sorts of different experiences catered so people can explore their creative side.

It’s not just about mastering techniques; it’s about the journey of self-discovery, self-expression, and connecting with like-minded individuals.

Angela said: “I think many people are scared by art. We were very much pigeonholed at school; you were the brainy one, the scientist, the sporty one, the arty one.

“Why couldn’t we be everything? They aren’t mutually exclusive.

“I think it’s a misconception that if you can draw something so well that it looks like a photographic representation of what’s in front of you then that makes you “good” at art.

“Yes, it’s imperative that you learn to draw, but it’s also crucial that you develop your own style and handwriting.

“I think my classes give people the opportunity to draw and create in their own way, to not really worry about the end result; the process is just as important. when you are fully immersed in a technique, then that’s your only focus.”

Art Club UK are one of three winners of a £10,000 advertising package – along with Kiku Boutique and Grounded MCR – to reward some of the amazing local, independent businesses in Greater Manchester.

I asked Angela what winning this great marketing prize from Square means to her and her company, and she said:

Angela Lock at Art Club UK

“Winning this award means so much to me.

“Art Club has been my dream for over a decade, and it’s been a labour of love for the past few years.

“Opening our doors to the neighbourhood, to cultivate a creative hub, where people can freely express themselves in various mediums has been an exhilarating journey.

“In just six months we’ve received incredible support, hosted art exhibitions, organised charity fundraisers, celebrated birthdays, held gigs, and conducted painting, drawing, collage, printmaking, photography, lamp making and creative writing classes.

“The community has wholehearted embrace has gone above and beyond our expectations.

“Honestly, winning this award has genuinely brought tears to my eyes, so thank you!”

So why not check out what they’ve got on and embrace your inner artist?

You can check out their website by clicking here.

UK Art Club has clinched a prestigious advertising package courtesy of Square, the global technology company known for simplifying commerce and financial services for businesses worldwide.

This exclusive competition, “Reel Manchester,” offered three lucky local business owners in Manchester the chance to win an extraordinary advertising package worth £10,000.

The prize includes professionally produced advertising videos and images to boost their local visibility, showcased across various media platforms and iconic locations throughout the city centre.

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