The Secret Venue is based in, the working fishing village of Cockenzie, with its small harbours and beach’s being just 10 miles out of Edinburgh. As well as a working fishing village, it is also a home and has been for many artists such as, the great John Bellany (born in Cockenzie and painted here for many years), and of course, Andrew Crummy (Great Tapestry of Scotland etc.). It is also home of the much loved 3 Harbours Arts Festival, which happens every year in early June. The Secret Venue its self is lucky enough to be hidden in New Street (the locally famous ‘Artists Street’) close to the wonderful historic Cockenzie house and gardens.
The Secret Venue emphasis is on conceptual but accessible art shows, that hopefully leave the visitor with new perspectives of their world – an adventure in art. But that is, conceptual art that would not alienate some viewer’s -no secret club perhaps, of conceptuality.
Carl John Barber -founder:
“When considering the small quirky two-roomed house at the bottom of our new garden and house. My first thoughts were to turn the down stairs into some kind of art room. But then it occurred to me, really I should share my good fortune and show my own -and other artists work perhaps. Shortly after, I met Andrew crummy, who inevitably encourage me to enter Three Harbours Festival as a venue, at which point I invited Gus Meechan to join me in the endeavour. But, as someone pointed out to me, this quirky art space was rather hidden away! -Which suggested, a secret place -a secret gallery, so The Secret Venue came about. Despite the huge temptation to put on crowd pleasing sea side related art, which sold well, it was always my intention to be a bit different. Gus agreed with me that we would non-the less, stick our necks out and attempt, that most difficult of things -an accessible conceptual art show. -And at the same time, be a venue that was not afraid to actively engage with its audience during a show. During The 3 Harbours Festivals I am proud to say that The Secret Venue has always been well attended, with people queuing to see shows not unusual.”