Inside a home-turned-gallery café: A nomadic couple return to Stratford and launch the Fenton Street Arts Collective and distillery
Arts Collective Website stencils merro berry
Arts Collective Website stencils merro berry

Jo Stallard and Stuart Greenhill have been around long enough to know the only accolade worth coveting comes from people that don't require mass nor media to tell them what to do or think - that is why the subjectivity of ART is their indulgence.

In 2016 they searched for a historic building to restore and turn into an Arts Collective. They found 11 Fenton Street and almost two years later Fenton Street Arts Collective came into being. The original concept was to promote the gallery by offering espresso to visitors as they wandered about.

Jo and Stuart had hoped to see the end of their hospitality days but a demand for food from visitors saw them give in, on the condition of not serving fried food, muffins or scones. With word spreading, Fenton Street now offers 5 course dégustations during the winter months, run by Stuart's brother Ken Greenhill, a chef based in Tauranga.

Fenton Street Arts Collective is a collective of their passions and interests: art, history, gin and espresso. "We are 310 metres up a mountain so our aspirations are just as high for each of them." Having full control of this process has made this the best project Jo and Stuart have worked on. Not only is it their home, it's a gallery with a dedicated studio for Jo.  

"There's pressure to grow, but the distillery will remain boutique, and so will the Arts Collective. Our gallery is booked for 2021, I am contracted to Austin Macauley Publishers for my next book and Jo has two exhibitions this year. The future will be busy."

Jo Upstairs