Hidden Gems – Upstairs @ 51
I think we’ve all missed the comfort of our favourite cafe over lockdown. Although those “Eight Hours of Soft Rain and Coffee Shop Ambience” asmr videos have been a good friend to me over the countless study sessions, my heart still pines for a professionally made coffee and a peaceful environment that doesn’t have an overflowing ‘clothes chair’ in the corner.
As the world “re-opens” I want to bring the focus to one of my hidden favourites – Upstairs @ 51. This Reform Street treat is owned and operated by volunteers from the Nilupul Foundation, a charity that has been providing mindfulness and wellbeing classes and free stress reduction courses to vulnerable adults on low income in Dundee over the past 20 years. Ensuring that everyone has access to mental health support.
From the moment you open the door you are welcomed into a calm, tranquil environment with a range of locally sourced coffee and healthy food, catering to ceoliacs, vegans and everyone in between. It’s a perfect sunspot where you can watch the busy streets from above or find a comfy space to study. Their gift shop is stocked with ethically sourced goodies and puts an emphasis on small business finds.
To celebrate their reopening they’ve launched a 12 month exhibition project – showcasing work from Dundee’s finest talent. Every month a new artist has the opportunity to curate their own exhibition and sell their work. With a portion of sales going towards Nilupul’s various projects, it is a great opportunity to support local talent, give to charity and get your hands on some fantastic art.
Kicking off on May 1st, their first artist is DJCADs very own Sarah Gillespie (@sarahjgillespieart). Sarah is in her final year of studying fine art, with her practice focusing around printmaking, installations and sculpture. Her process explores the invisible presence of memories captured in objects and locations, and the emotions they hold.
Lockdown has been isolating for many of us and these monthly exhibitions encourage us to come together as a community again. If you would like to find out more about the Nilupul Foundation and the work they do, pop into the cafe from April 26th or follow their respective socials for updates about the organisation or exhibition.
Artist applications are open all year and you can sign up here: https://forms.gle/ERgzXGCsbXMmzxME8