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Bristol’s Creative Economy

Words by Darius Ghadiali


Bristol is known for its talent, ideas and cultural contribution to Britain’s world class art scene, with more and more creators setting themselves up to contribute to the buzzing atmosphere. Find out how Bristol’s art scene can be supported by using Bristol Pound around the city.


Bristol Pound’s note design competition gives local artists a chance to get their work onto the Bristol Pound notes when the currency is updated. The colourful and varied styles of the pieces contributing to the design of the notes reflect the local culture, wildlife, political scene and industry that Bristol is known for. By simply using the notes when out and about, you’d be bringing the artists’ work to people that might’ve not seen them before, encouraging and inspiring budding new artists. For a detailed review of the winners of the latest competition, check out our showcase article here.


Spend Bristol Pounds in the independent art shops dotted around Bristol. CoLab, Gloucester Road collates some of Bristol’s local artists to design the art on their clothes and prints, as well as selling jewellery and literary pieces. By spending Bristol Pounds there you’d be supporting Bristol’s economy and arts scene at the same time. A list of the shops that you can spend your Bristol Pounds can be found in our online directory.

Visit the Bristol Museum & Art Gallery on Park Street to see Bristol’s own and international pieces both on permanent and temporary display, and use Bristol Pounds to pay for any books, food and souvenirs that catch your eye. The gallery has a real Banksy display in their main entrance as well as work from Damien Hirst and the Japanese aesthetic prints by Hokusai. We would definitely recommend going before September in order to get a good viewing before many of the main exhibitions will be changed. Well worth the visit.

If you’re an up-and-coming artist, PAPER Arts is a community-focused organisation aiming to help new artists and creatives gain vital logistical and business skills in order to make a living from their art. Their services include membership to a group mentoring club and 1-to-1 sessions. They also run an annual arts festival, YO Arts Fest, which gives a networking platform for young creatives in the South West as well as opportunities to showcase some of the hard work many of these newer artists have engaged in. Using Bristol Pound to pay for their services will not only bring out the core business skills needed for self-sustenance as an artist/creative but will help keep Bristol’s art scene alive and well.

If professional art services are what you’re after, local artists are available to be paid with Bristol Pound. Susie Ramsay and Tom Lietzau are examples of such artists, with Susie specialising in urban landscape drawings and paintings and Tom being multi-disciplinary in his work on abstract and geometric pieces. Both cover different aspects of Bristol’s cityscape and reflect the city’s spirit in their works. For more information on Bristol’s independent creatives check out the directory available here.


Bristol has a diverse art scene with many different styles and messages being expressed through the work of many local artists and galleries. Contribute to Bristol’s cultural and economic prosperity by choosing to use Bristol Pounds to pay for your supplies, experiences and services, keeping the money and creativity within the region.

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