With the Olympic Park next door and new developments rising up at a rapid speed next to the existing Victorian warehouses and artist studios, the creative community of Hackney Wick faces an uncertain future.
But a new events series, Wick Wednesday, looks to celebrate and preserve the culture that exists in Europe’s densest arts hub.
The day and evening of exhibitions, performances and classes, held on the third Wednesday of each month, aims to shine a light on the range of cultural activities on offer and draw visitors to the area from further afield.
William Chamberlain, founder of Wick Wednesday, said: “There is an authenticity around the culture and creativity that exists in Hackney Wick.
“It is so important for London to retain it’s last remaining, genuine artist’s quarter – we want to keep it that way.
“Because of a lack of resources we are not able to promote everything that happens all of the time in Hackney Wick. But with Wick Wednesday we provide a snapshot, giving a flavour of what’s happening in the area and we hope to encourage people from further afield to visit.”
The event is sponsored by housebuilding company Telford Homes PLC – Chamberlain says that long term developers in the area “want to encourage the creative economy and preserve what it is that gives Hackney Wick its special nature.”
He highlights that encouraging the right commercial opportunities through the development sector can assist with the long term survival of the creative sector.
With the third edition Wick Wednesday taking place today, what can visitors expect? We spoke to some of the area’s artists and creatives taking part:
Cult record shop Vinyl Pimp, which has been trading in Hackney Wick since 2007, will be offering a free cleaning service at this month’s Wick Wednesday for up to five vinyl.
Founder Luk Man Hon said:
“We could sense that Wick Wednesday is a genuine attempt to raise the stock of Hackney Wick businesses, so we had to be involved.
“We need to raise as much awareness of our area as possible, it would come in handy for the forthcoming petition and protest if the public know about Hackney Wick.
“This Wick Wednesday I am most looking forward to a deep tissue massage at Re-volve.”
Vinyl Pimp, 14 Felstead St, London E9 5LT, open 12.00 – 7.30pm
Cloud Cuckoo Land
Award winning artist Gavin Turk, has curated an exhibition showing the works of 30 emerging and established artists including his own and that of Sir Peter Blake. Wick Wednesday-ers are invited to view Exquisite Garden at Cloud Cuckoo Land, Here East.
Nish Rowe, manager at Cloud Cuckoo Land, said:
“The art industry is a tough one to break into and our gallery amongst a few other galleries and platforms aim break down the barriers and constraints within the art world helping to give young artists exposure and opportunity. Wick Wednesday is also one of them.
“As a multifaceted platform it allows organisations to show they are supporting the community whilst asking for support from the community.
“I am most looking forward to GROW’s event. Hackney Wick is plastered with visual art and sometimes we forget about all the fantastic musicians that are based here. It cannot get much better than a jazz jam after touring the works of the locally based artist, Gareth Jones.”
Exquisite Garden will be at Cloud Cuckoo Land Gallery, Here East Press Centre, East Bay Lane, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, E15 2GW until 28 February
Forman’s Smokehouse Gallery will be hosting the exclusive exhibition Amazing Amazing Amazing, featuring Charlie Evaristo-Boyce’s hyperreal pop art prints and printed sculptures.
Jennifer English, the co-curator of the exhibition, said:
“We are thrilled for the opportunity to be involved in Wick Wednesday, to support and be supported by the wider creative community, to amalgamate resources, skills and knowledge for all our benefit.
“It is important to celebrate such a vibrant creative hub such as Hackney Wick, to encourage social engagement and a shared sense of community, to inspire and of course enjoy.”
‘Amazing Amazing Amazing’ will be at Smokehouse Gallery, Stour Road, E3 2NT, open from 6 – 9pm
Exhibition continues until 22 March
This month’s edition of Wick Wednesday also features a range of other events and activities including life drawing classes at Stour Space, Drag Queen Bingo at Number 90 Bar and discounted rock climbing sessions at Hackney Wick Boulder Project.
The next Wick Wednesday will be held on 21 March.
To find out more, see the Wick Wednesday website