The Gentlemen Baristas launches ‘The Art of Coffee’

The Gentlemen Baristas and Bleur, a London indie art gallery, have teamed up to create ‘The Art of Coffee’ – an exhibition of original artworks made using coffee, to raise funds for social enterprise Well Grounded.

A collective of emerging London-based female creatives with practices ranging from abstract to fashion figurative including, Joanna Layla, Eva Merendes, Jemima Sara and Blandine Bardeau are involved in the project.

The contributing creatives were invited to use the medium of coffee, to make works that celebrate the ritual of coffee and its important role in fostering connections and community.

The Art of Coffee will be displayed at The Gentlemen Baristas’ new London flagship coffee house in Piccadilly this September with artworks auctioned to raise funds for Well Grounded, which runs London’s first series of Specialty Coffee Training Academies for people facing barriers to employment.

Well Grounded supports unemployed beneficiaries who have a range of needs and welcomes trainees to virtual and face-to-face programmes from across the Capital with two Coffee Training Academies, in Camden and Tower Hamlets.

All profits from art sales will support Well Grounded and help change the lives of unemployed people through coffee.

The Gentlemen Baristas is a roastery and coffee house serving specialty coffee with ten sites across London. The company is inspired by the age-old traditions of serving a superb cup of coffee and providing a meeting point for London’s modern-day visionaries.

Ed Parkes, founder of The Gentlemen Baristas, wanted to display creative works with a real connection to coffee and the community. He said: “We wanted to create an environment for the community to come together – a meeting point and thinking space for London’s modern-day visionaries.”

Eve Wagg, founder, Well Grounded said: “In partnership with the industry we will ensure those most impacted by the pandemic have access to expert training, qualifications, mental health and wellbeing support so they can thrive in the industry we all love.

“We are looking forward to working with The Gentlemen Baristas over the coming years to provide work placements and jobs to people across the capital.”

Ed Parkes continues: “From the growers to the roasters to our baristas and customers, coffee is built on communities so what better way to bring these rich stories to life than through the art of coffee!”

Joanna Layla, who created a series of art works for the exhibition, said: “Getting a coffee in the morning is a moment to pause, reflect and watch the world go by. Both coffee and fashion capture the cultural zeitgeist, an idea I wanted to bring together in a series of fashion works on paper in coffee.

“A little like traditional ink, and yet simultaneously something completely unique, the coffee ink was so beautiful to work with. Espresso ink makes its mark so the first impression keeps. l Iove the depth of colour in a single brushstroke.”

Well Grounded empowers people with the skills, training, mentorship and qualifications they need to access work in the specialty coffee industry. Its Aftercare programme transitions over 70% of Graduates into work, further training and education and provides ongoing free wellbeing and coffee training support.

The Art of Coffee exhibition will be live from 23 September at The Gentlemen Baristas flagship coffee house, 163 Piccadilly, London W1J 9ED.

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