New gallery space aims to transform Deptford art scene

No Format Gallery. Pic: Simon Ellis

no format Gallery. Pic: Simon Ellis

A new gallery was launched last week in Deptford aiming to secure a future for South London’s vibrant arts scene.

The new ‘no format’ gallery space on Rolt Street forms part of Second Floor Studio and Arts.

In 2019, company director, Matthew Wood, will open a further 68 studio spaces at Anthology Foundry, Deptford, backed by £280,000 of Arts Impact funding. At this time, no format will relocate into the Anthology development alongside artists’ studio spaces.

Wood said he hoped to provide crucial creative space in the face of huge difficulties for the industry. Citing recent studio closures in Hackney, as well as Second Floor’s move out of their previous space due to housing developments, he said to turn the situation around it would take “serious intervention”.

No Format Gallery. Pic: Simon Ellis

no format Gallery. Pic: Simon Ellis

Wood is also aiming to involve local communities in the arts. He said: “We don’t just provide workspace, we do a lot more. We have the gallery, we do talks once a month, we do a continual professional development programme, we engage with so many other organisations locally.

“We work with all the local schools, primary and secondary, and obviously you’ve got Goldsmiths close by. Straight away we’d be looking to see what opportunities we might have.” Wood added: “When we transition into the permanent space there will be even more on offer.”

Wood also said he hoped a redevelopment focused on arts would buck a trend of investments in vibrant communities being at the locals’ expense. He said: “I have been in Deptford, Greenwich, New Cross, for a long time. The things that were happening years ago, spontaneous pop-up events, all that vibrancy is just gone.”

“There is always the next generation coming in and bringing new things with it, but because there is so much redevelopment in the area, you’re losing so many artists’ studios and creative spaces. The underbelly is actually being really squeezed out.”

Credit: Rachel Ara

Rachel Ara’s artwork. Credit: Rachel Ara

The first, free exhibition at no format Gallery includes work by computer programmer turned fine artist Rachel Ara. Ara’s self-evaluative piece ‘This Much I’m Worth’, exhibited at the gallery, won the International Aesthetica Art Prize this year.

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