Café provides artful experience

2 June 2020|Community News| Off Comments off on Café provides artful experience|

MAGNOLIA 73 Café in Moonah has continued to provide customers with a unique experience during COVID-19 regulations.

While people wait for their takeaway coffees to be made by café partners Jonathan Hodgkin and Rik Thirlwell, they can view art on display in the café by local artists.

“We’re running an access gallery in addition to running a café and what we do is offer the artists the space on the walls for two months,” Mr Hodgkin said.

“We’re probably one of the very few places that’s still an accessible access gallery because we don’t charge a fee for hanging the work and we don’t charge a fee for sales.”

Artists can also choose whether to hold an exhibition at the café.

Mr Hodgkin said any individual or group could display art at the café, and it acted as a platform for many people in the community wanting to start their career.

“We hang all sorts of artwork from paintings of little old ladies to some quite interesting and outrageous contemporary art,” he said.

“There are also a lot of hobby artists who make flower pictures and landscape pictures which are not particularly fashionable in the high art world, but they are nice pictures and we show all sorts of art like that.”

The café is an institution in Moonah, with it being recognised for going the extra mile and supporting the socially disadvantaged in the community.

“We cater to a few people who have intellectual disabilities and emotional difficulties, and we recognise we provide a social space for them,” Mr Hodgkin said.

“Even if they can’t sit or stay, they can come and have a chat while they wait for their coffee – we’re kind of a moment of normalcy in this upside-down world.”

Mr Hodgkin is an artist himself and has previously worked as an exhibition preparator in Melbourne for 15 years.

“I know how to hang pictures, so artists bring in the work and I make an exhibition out of that work,” he said.

“Art is good for the soul, and we’ve got nice pictures, make nice coffee and it’s a nice experience all round.”

Magnolia 73 Café has also built a sense of community by giving away beanies knitted by a local member of the community.

“One of our customers is a community nurse and her downtime activity coming off a shift is to knit beanies, so she came in with a bag full of the beanies and we’ve displayed them for people to take home,” Mr Hodgkin said.

Caption: From left, Magnolia 73 Café partners Jonathan Hodgkin and Rik Thirlwell.

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