Nexus Art Café - from the archive Sep08

Monday, 1 September, 2008

Cris Acher, founder of the Nexus Art Café, discusses its past, present and future.

Duration: 3:30   | Download Download mp3


Introducer: Nexus is a place of encounter for artist, musicians, dreamers and those who seek an oasis. This trendy café bar is in the city's artistic northern quarter and occupies a space beneath the Methodist Central Hall. Norman Ivison returned to talk to Cris Acher who founded Nexus, and asked him how it's changed.

Cris Acher: It's now an art café, we have art in terms of an art exhibition space, gallery space, a café, fully-functioning, we have coffee and sandwiches. The café is doing so well that we've been nominated as Manchester's best casual dining venue for 2008 in the food and drink awards, so we're very excited about that. We have a recording studio, and so we have a place for musicians and visual artists and people who just simply want a coffee to come and meet, really wanting to be as inclusive and as welcoming to as many people as we can. And it does stand out as somewhere different from other places, and people we've spoken to and people who leave comments in our comments book, the feedback that we get is that this is a welcoming and inclusive place, and that's what they really value about it.

Interviewer: And how important is the location in the city centre?

Cris Acher: We are based in what is the northern quarter of Manchester centre, it is a place where there's lots of creative type people – architects and artists and musicians – we are looking at all sorts of different ways in which we can build community, so we'll put on reading groups and film nights and discussions, we have cake-making classes, we kind of try and get ideas from customers as well about what kind of things they want to do and what kind of workshops we can do together. And through these things people connect and people are meeting other people. So on the Sunday mornings we're going to be gathering, eating breakfast, people paying just simply what they can afford to pay, discussing the papers and thinking how we can respond to what's going on in the news, thinking how we can care for one another and care for the city around us, and linking that in with what we believe as Christians and what the ethos of the Christian faith is about.

Interviewer: And that's quite important isn't it, because some people listening to this might say it sounds as though you're building a great community there, it would be fun to be part of it, but what's Christian about it?

Cris Acher: We felt it was really important to have community – and genuine community – where no-one is excluded. Having created that and having that community, we now look at ways of linking in to the church, to the Christian story. For some people that would be quite a natural step from where they are at the moment. We have within Nexus, Sanctus1 that meets on a Wednesday night, which is a church community – a fresh expression that was established five or six years ago – and there is opportunity for people who do want to explore to be part of that community as well, so we've got lots of links.

We've been really excited about how we've grown in the last couple of years, how much input we've put in to the project and the fruits of that coming through, that we're employing five members of staff, we have hundreds of people coming in each week. We're simply wanting to continue to build on that, to continue to focus our energies on sharing God's love within that and allowing people the opportunity to respond to that, and looking continuously at ways at how we best serve the city and the changing needs of the city.

Introducer: Cris Acher explaining how his fresh expressions Nexus is responding to the changing needs of Manchester.

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