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Cardiff’s first original art gallery opens its doors

An art collector from Cardiff has opened the city’s first original fine art gallery with the support of six-figure funding.

Jamie Aherne secured £225,000 of finance from NatWest to launch the Blackwater Gallery on Cardiff Bay waterfront, showcasing local and international artwork.

Owner Jamie Ahearne (right) and NatWest Relationship Manager Carl Stockton (left).

Since taking ownership of the derelict site in 2018, Jamie has completely refurbished the 3000 sq ft space, including installing water and electricity supplies and underfloor heating to regulate the gallery temperature.

Blackwater Gallery is the only place in Cardiff where fine art enthusiasts can view a collection of high-end original artwork, sculptures and photography. Showcasing more than 17 international artists, Jamie has curated the pieces while travelling in his job as Managing Director of Tracing Direct, a company used by legal professionals to locate missing beneficiaries.

Jamie is now focusing on his new art venture with plans to raise Blackwater Gallery’s profile amongst art collectors across the UK. The gallery is preparing for its first road show, taking some of its favourite pieces to the UK’s best-known art fayres and showcasing its offering to new audiences.

Blackwater Gallery currently employs three front of house staff, with plans to recruit at least one additional employee by December.

Jamie said: “Two years ago, I decided I wanted to open an art gallery to showcase my personal collection which I have curated over the past several years. Cardiff has always had a range of art galleries but none that sell original works from international artists. By opening Blackwater Gallery, I hope to give art lovers in the area the opportunity to view and purchase some of the finest originals from around the world.

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“Thanks to the funding from NatWest, I have been able to purchase the ideal waterfront premises and transform it from a derelict building into a stylish and contemporary art gallery that I hope will be a welcome addition to Cardiff’s art scene.”

Carl Stockton, Relationship Manager at NatWest, said: “It’s been highly rewarding to help Jamie pursue a career about which he is both passionate and knowledgeable. Jamie has been building his extensive collection of national and international artwork for years and our support has helped him share his collection with other art lovers in Cardiff and further afield.”

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