The Hackney WickED Art Festival will not go ahead this year. Instead, Hackney WickED CIC will curate a programme of smaller events that focus on the pillars of engagement: Art Exhibitions, Open Studios, Performance, Music, Film and Development.
The evolution of Hackney WickED as an art organisation, although free-natured spirited, spontaneous and self-expressive will be missed, it is time for the organisation to re-evaluate and adapt to the changing nature of Hackney Wick.
Hackney WickED was formed by artists living in Hackney Wick, East London, a defiant uprising in the face of the impending London 2012 Olympics & Paralympic Games. The organisation was about establishing a stronghold to protect the local art spaces under threat from demolition. The term used to describe Hackney WickED as ‘growing faster than dandelions’ was a perfect summary for a community that was resisting being weeded out.
Since 2008, Hackney WickED has grown from strength to strength, with the annual festival providing a platform for artists to showcase their work and promote the local culture Hackney Wick by delivering a dynamic programme, which has brought visitors from across the world to East London. In 2014, Hackney WickED commissioned a series of site-specific installations, roaming performances and open studios that enhanced the festival programme, enabled by funding from the Grants for the Arts, Arts Council England.
Today the festival faces ever-increasing production costs that are necessary to manage the event in line with requests from authorities and our own desire to present a safe, professional event. Thousands of pounds has previously been spent previously on waste disposal, security, street cleaning and the general infrastructure required to manage the 30,000 plus crowds that attend the festival each year. Hackney WickED greatly appreciates the sponsorship and funding received to date, however, the festival still has to rely heavily on in-kind support from suppliers, the management team and a volunteer network and this is no longer sustainable for an event of this scale.
Hackney WickED CIC will continue to evolve as an organisation by working to create a sustainable future that will endeavor to support the network of artists in the area. Hackney WickED aspires to create more art events across London and further afield, collaborating with other artist communities and organisations around the world. In this current phase of organisation development Hackney WickED CIC has been awarded further Arts Council funding, to conduct research in order to ascertain the value of Hackney WickED to the area by getting as much feedback as possible from the artist community, local businesses and visitors to help map the future trajectory of the events and organisation.
Photo: P C Robinson © artlyst 2015