About Voyage Art Galleries
Hi, I’m Sam Birtwistle owner and founder of Voyage Art Galleries. Voyage Art Galleries is an offshoot of Voyage Fair Trade which started as a business in 2013. Voyage Art Galleries aim is to support struggling artists and artisans in the south west of UK. We do this by selling the high quaility and unique artwork and crafts. Also we run fun weekly or monthly art workshop for the public.
When we where just Voyage Fair Trade, the business involved travelling around to markets, craft fairs and events. Selling these unique products in the south west of UK. However, the packing and unpacking began to lose its appeal (as did standing outside in all weathers). So I decided to open a small shop in Teignmouth. We were located in Northumberland Place, near Teignmouth’s Back Beach
Teignmouth’s back beach seemed to us was becoming quite ‘arty’ and following some comments from our customers. As a result the concept of the Teignmouth Arts Quarter was born! I decided to start an Arts Quarter Facebook page and this has been instrumental in pushing the idea forward.
There was good support from local councillors, including the mayor at the time, the late Geoff Bladon. The councillors were generous enough to give £30,000 of funding. and now the Arts Quarter is an acknowledged area of the town and has been recognised as such in the media.
In 2017 we were approached by a C.I.C (Community Interest Company) called Funky Aardvark who wanted us to take on their premises. Funky Aardvark sold the work of local artists and crafters and it seemed that the combination of Fair Trade including local art was a good fit! So in September 2017 we moved into Funky Aardvark, which is in the center of the Arts Quarter opposite TAAG (Teignmouth Arts Action Group) in Somerset Place. Just a little further up the road from our old shop. Taking the Voyage Fair Trade name with us. This meant we were now selling fair trade and local (Teignmouth area) art, ornaments, homeware and jewellery.
Another change came in 2021 when I had the opportunity to take over new premises in the centre of Teignmouth at the Triangle. This shop is now Voyage Fair Trade leaving the Somerset Place premises purely for local art and the running of workshops to local people. So now it is called Voyage Art Galleries.