Our Story

Art in the Heart was founded by former languages school teacher turned art entrepreneur Dawn Birch-James. After running a small gallery above a quaint little tearoom in the heart of Peterborough, she launched Art in the Heart early 2012 with a small group of artists from the area in the local tourist information office, in a bid to bring aspiration to the high street through the appreciation of art and quality craft and to get art and culture recognised as economically viable in local business circles.

The same year she went onto opening an art gallery and gift shop in an empty high street unit exhibiting and selling the work of over 85 artists and makers from within a 35 mile radius. Nearly four years on, the city centre hub is now in a bespoke individual shopping arcade offering beautiful original pieces, unique gifts not found anywhere else, workshops, exhibitions, events and demonstrations, a full framing service and real work experience opportunities for young people.

fullsizerender“I could never have predicted that I would be the founder and CEO of an exciting art gallery and gift shop. I had few resources and very little capital but worked all the hours to create something worthwhile and unique.

I had a lot of help from family and trusted volunteers too who saw the potential. We have a really close knit team which includes my daughter Charlotte who has worked nearly every Saturday (sometimes under duress) for a little pocket money since the beginning, and my son William who does a lot of the graphic design. I have a great Gallery and Shop Manager too Michelle. That’s so important to me so I can now concentrate on spreading the Art in the Heart love across the UK through the online Marketplace and hopefully advising others how to create similar City Centre community based galleries and gift shops.

Surprisingly, I had had the idea of an online shop which could sell great art, craft and creative gifts for years. But this new Art in the Heart Marketplace which offers its customers unique pieces from artists and makers all over the UK is beyond my wildest dreams. I just decided I had to go for the best with every last penny I could find. I took the roof off and reached for the stars. I know there is a long way to go but this for me is a great start and very exciting. If you know any amazing artists and makers who want to earn a living from their creativity, let us know!!

I hope you enjoy Art in the Heart..this is love and happy shopping!”.

Art in the Heart….this is love