Royal Albert Wharf Open Studios Celebrations

June 6th, 2024

Photo Credit: David Swainsbury

The Royal Albert Wharf Open Studios 2024 was a celebration of the thriving creative community in this calm neighborhood in the Royal Docks. The space, a collaboration of creative placemaking by Bow Arts through Notting Hill Genesis, boasts thirty-four high-quality affordable studios for artists, designers, and makers. 

Visitors from around the Docks and beyond were welcomed into the Bow Arts studios for the day and were invited to marvel at the artists’ work inside their open-plan studios. The artists were able to share more information with the public about their practice and give insight into the history of the area and their studios.

Local artist collective, Art in the Docks, produced and ran an incredible Shoalmates Parade. Primary schools within the community and several hundred Newham residents created beautiful shoals of fish depicting cultural heritage, individuality, and community. They paraded around Pump House Square, along the artist studios and through the community. The parade was bookended by Taru Arts’ Brazilian drummers and dancers, and Dhol Academy’s percussion band. The highlights of the parade included everyone dancing, walking, and parading over the footbridge, holding their fish high and proud amidst the lines of fish strung over the Thames River. 

The artist studios sit among many notable features of the area. The Well Bean Café, a community café and event space serving only plant-based ingredients; Café Spice Namasté, a contemporary, street food-inspired restaurant selling Indian cuisine; artist led collective Art in the Docks, a leading community organisation in the Royal Docks, run by Bow Arts artists.

George Clarke, Head of Communities and Commercial Properties at Notting Hill Genesis stated “The parade was a fantastic celebration of the new creative community around Royal Albert Wharf. It was great to see the docks were bought to life by shoals of flying fish! A big thank you to Bow Arts, Art in the Docks, Winsor Primary School, Gallions Primary School and OASIS Schools, and Taru Arts Brazilian drummers and dancers, and Newham Dhol Academy who all made it happen!”.

Joss Taylor, Head of Enterprise and Placemaking at Bow Arts stated “The day demonstrated the real value in long term, culture led placemaking. To see the place full of life was a wonderful moment, community driven organisations like The Well Bean Cafe and Art in The Docks at the heart of it all. The Well Bean Cafe has been with us for five years at RAW and has grown to be the best Vegan Cafe in the Docks, whilst Art in The Docks has brought together artists from our affordable studios to create a community driven CIC, delivering real engagement and outstanding public art.”

If you missed out on the Open Studios, you are still able to engage with the creative community at Royal Albert Wharf! Keep up to date on all Bow Arts activities by visiting the “What’s On” section of the Bow Arts website. You can also visit the Art in the Docks gallery, which provides free entry and hosts a wide range of exhibitions and events. 

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