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Cardiff businessman opens new arts hub in city centre

A RENOWNED Cardiff businessman has opened a new arts hub in Cardiff city centre to bring together art and food.

Giovanni Malacrino, who established the UK’s first café quarter in Cardiff 25 years ago, said: “I have decided to open an art gallery with a difference, bringing together painting, music and food.”

The space will be named GCHQ (Gio’s Creative Hub Quarter) and is in Mr Malacrino’s cookery school in Mill Lane, where it will hold monthly exhibitions of Welsh artists.

The official launch of the gallery on November 9, which lasted the weekend, featured three Welsh artists, Christopher Langley, Christopher Pompa and Tony Paultyn.

Christopher Langley from Pontypridd said: “I met Giovanni at the Mill Lane Arts Week where we painted outside.

“I did a painting of his restaurant and gave it to him as a gift and he was very, very impressed with it and invited me to exhibit my work.”

Christopher Langley with his painting Clearing Storm

One of Mr Langley’s pieces at the gallery is his painting of a Llandaff pub, Cow and Snuffers, which was part of his Cardiff pubs exhibition in May.

Christopher Langley’s painting of Llandaff pub, the Cow and Snuffers

Cardiff-based artist Christopher Pompa, who creates paintings, collages and mosaics with the use of upcycled materials, photographs and postcards met Mr Malacrino through a friend.

Mr Pompa said: “This is an important space for artists like me who can use it as a platform and who are just starting out.

“It is relaxed here and a lot of galleries take a lot of money from artists, which I understand because they are giving them a platform, but Giovanni is helping us focus on our art.”

Christoper Pompa with his painting Kitchen Perspectives 2

The setup of GCHQ allows more control for artists as their work is not tied to one gallery and they are allowed to sell online.

The hub will hold monthly exhibitions of Welsh artists, which will be mainly open on weekends from 4pm until 10pm.

Mr Malacrino also hopes to expand the space with recording studios for Welsh musicians.

The hub will hold different weekend-long exhibitions planned for every month from January.

  • The gallery can be followed on the GCHQ Facebook page where artists can ask to book the space for exhibitions.
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