It’s no secret that Roath is home to many unique and quirky businesses – but there might be one you’ve come across a few times without even realizing it.
TEN. is a new gallery space for Cardiff tucked away on Donald Street and aims to showcase art and represent exclusive Welsh artists.
The gallery was actually on Windsor Place in Cardiff city center for years, but in the aftermath of the pandemic Cat Gardiner, 37, decided to renovate a shed in her garden to house the space.
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Cat said: “I started the gallery in 2010 so I was in the center of town for years. It was nice to be in a beautiful Georgian house but I’m a Roath girl. loved the community, I grew up on Kelvin Route which is not far from where my gallery is now.
“When my tenure in the city center ended, I had a one-year-old daughter and I used to take her with me to work – but basically it got a bit too much. I had a hard time running a business and being a mother at the same time.
“Our family home is on Donald Street and there is a shed at the back of our garden.”
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Cat said that although the shed was in her backyard, she did not own it, although it would have been in Victorian times. Instead, a mechanic had used it as a garage.
Cat said: “Despite the pandemic, 2020 has been the best commercial year for us in the twelve years of opening.
“We met the mechanic and persuaded him to sign it for us as I was able to buy it and use it for the gallery. I officially bought it in February of last year. C it was truly a dream and such a perfect situation. “
From February to June, Cat built false walls in front of the home’s original Victorian stone walls, heated floors, new electrical installation, and the reconfiguration of the stairs and mezzanine.
Cat opened TEN. in the new space in February of last year
She said: “It was like running a pandemic-proof business because I was basically working from home.
“I started the gallery purely out of a desire to represent contemporary Welsh artists. I have 20 of them that I currently represent.
“I have always been artistic and I studied art for level A. I did a degree in art history and I did a master’s degree in conservation.
“When I came back to Cardiff after college I just couldn’t find a job. There weren’t a lot of opportunities here for art or curating and I couldn’t find anything interesting that I really wanted to do.
“So I decided to create the gallery because I had already worked in other commercial galleries.”
She may be tucked away on a side street, but Cat says her gallery stands out above the rest.
She said: “I really wanted to showcase the work of Welsh artists. Some of them have had incredible careers outside of Wales and numerous performances in New York, Germany and Brazil.
“These same artists had no continued recognition in Wales, which I found really ridiculous.
“I wanted to push the contemporary side of the incredible Welsh culture that is unfolding.”
While some of the Welsh culture can be noticed quite quickly, like this photo of those iconic Penarth Pier benches, others need closer examination.
Cat said: “Contemporary Welsh culture doesn’t have to be dragons or sheep. There is a Welsh culture that people don’t necessarily know is Welsh.
“A lot of my artists deal with Welsh identity or post-industrial landscapes. The same photographer who took the picture of Penarth Pier, takes a lot of pictures of the landscape of The Valleys, which may not be the case. prettier, but certainly tells you a lot about the kind of history in the area. “
Cat loves the gallery’s location because she says loads of kids and neighbors are always looking inside and seeing what’s going on.
She said: “I love that people want to see the work of these quality artists on this little side street in Roath.
“I really feel that a positive impact of the pandemic is that people are a lot more invested in their area. I really feel like there’s a lot going on in Roath – I think a lot of these industrial spaces are used for new businesses.
“I want it to become a habit for people to see art when they come home from work or school.
“I’m all for organic business growth so I like the location of the gallery. I want people to spread the word and say to their friends’ I was walking down the street and then all of a sudden, I saw this incredible gallery ‘.
“There is nothing better than stumbling upon something.
“Much like the Welsh art that we hold, you have to take a second look at the street to realize something is there.”
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