top of page

The Return of Fitzrovia Lates: A Monthly Celebration of Local Creative Vibrancy

Updated: Apr 8

Since the early 20th century, Fitzrovia has been celebrated as a creative hub that was home to poets, writers and artists such as Virginia Woolf, George Orwell and John Constable. A soulful blend of independently-owned shops, cafes and studios, Fitzrovia’s iconic history, and subsequently its character, would be instrumental in encouraging and inspiring future generations of thinkers and makers.

 

The landscape which fostered this artistic potential would also nurture a climate of steadfast community and mutual support. In 2012, a group of contemporary art galleries would come together to host a series of late hours events called Fitzrovia Lates. Proud of the Fitzrovia identity, there was a motivation to contribute to ongoing shared success. Therein also lies a benefit in reinforcing a network which would attract a strong audience of enthusiasts, trusting in the collective insight and discerning voice within a shared contemporary art conversation. Fitzrovia Lates provided this opportunity for the curious and keen audience to be actively engaged.


Charlotte Street, Fitzroy Square, circa 1910

Now, over a decade later, a group of Fitzrovia galleries are bringing back this initiative. Starting on the 11th April, 2024 and recurring every second Thursday of the month, participating galleries will be announced via social media, inviting visitors to explore multiple exhibitions after regular operating hours. Each gallery will host a public audience over light refreshments, providing the opportunity for the education, immersion and inspiration across multiple programmes and spaces for which Fitzrovia is so celebrated.

 

The motivation to support one another, and the opportunity in fostering an engaged audience through the Lates would be as relevant an opportunity over ten years later, just as Fitzrovia continues to be celebrated as a creative and innovative setting. As the Covid-19 pandemic disrupted political, economic and cultural infrastructure, a zeitgeist would occur. The drop in commercial property rates would make room for a new group of galleries, and ultimately reignite the Fitzrovia Lates initiative with a renewed surge of energy and fresh perspective.  


 Fitzrovia has more specifically seen established galleries move in whose original locations were seeing their rates rise and rise as the neighbourhoods became more developed. These entities who would maintain their pioneering spirit were rising to a challenge and embarking on a new chapter. “Like several other galleries in the area, Brooke Benington was a post pandemic arrival to Fitzrovia,” remarks George Mingozzi-Marsh, Director of Brooke Benington. “It felt like a moment to be bold and ambitious and seize the opportunity to move central with both hands.”



They would simultaneously align with those resident Fitzrovians who’d weathered the Covid storm and were growing their roots deeper. What resulted is and was quite the prestigious force. “In the couple of years since, the drive for ambition and boldness has shifted into more of a collective energy, with each new gallery arriving in the area giving us all a boost,” remarks George. “There is a real feeling that by working with rather than against one another we are creating something really specially in Fitzrovia. For us, for collectors and for anyone wanting explore and understand the current London art scene.”


Somewhat ironically, Covid also created more of an opportunity to embrace the Lates. Following years of social distancing, co-directors Lovisa Berntson and India Bhattacharjee of Berntson Bhattacharjee feel strongly about encouraging an in-person initiative more than ever. “In an era of higher digital presence and less in-person audience engagement, we believe it's important to be a part of a physical hub where emerging artists and innovative curatorial projects are welcome and can be celebrated in the flesh.”


The proximity to blue chip Mayfair would also help contribute in peaking the interest from a prestigious clientele, without abandoning what sets these galleries apart. The Fitzrovia Lates helps provide what is offered by way of such promising galleries and their artwork and artists. Miles Thurlow, co-founder and owner of Workplace, agrees. “There is a fantastic energy here owed in part to the proximity of the West End, as well as a local neighbourhood feel. There are more and more galleries opening here, and a real sense of community amongst the galleries, artists and audiences.”


Miles Thurlow with a painting by Workplace artist James Cabaniuk. Image courtesy of Workplace.

“Seeing a surge of galleries, myself included, joining the amazing art community in Fitzrovia made me become aware of the opportunities to make the area even more vibrant,” explains Maribelle Bierens, Director of Night Café Gallery and the initial champion in bringing back the Lates initiative. “That’s why I designed the Fitzrovia Gallery Map and worked on reintroducing the Fitzrovia Lates to not only drive public engagement but also foster deeper connections within the gallery community to enrich Fitzrovia’s art scene.”


Maribelle Bierens of Night Café Gallery. Courtesy of Night Café Gallery.

George Mingozzi-Marsh reflects on the historic events series that initially motivated him creatively, and would eventually inspire support of a similar initiative. “As an art student in the 00’s, it was the energy of the East End First Thursdays which first got me excited about the idea of curating shows and possibly one day running a gallery,” he explains. “The ability in one evening to bounce from gallery to gallery in such close proximity, experiencing the full range and diversity that the London art scene at the time had to offer. For the first time in a decade or more the experience feels possible again, but this time for it to be happening so centrally - and for my gallery to be a part of it - feels quite special.”

 

Night Café, Vitrine, TJ Boulting, Workplace, Alice Amati, Edel Assanti, Josh Lilley, Brooke Benington, Pipeline, Alice Black, Maximillian William, Gillian Jason, Niru Ratnam, Albion Jeune, and Berntson Bhattacharjee are all in support of the initiative. Each month, the roster of participating galleries for that event date will be confirmed and announced via a public invitation.

 

“Fitzrovia is a burgeoning art scene for emerging and established galleries alike,” remarks Millie Jason Foster, Director of Gillian Jason Gallery. “The reintroduction of Fitzrovia Lates excitingly provides art lovers and new collectors with the opportunity to immerse themselves in a wealth of pioneering programmes.”



 In another exciting development, The Mandrake Hotel will also be hosting Scottish artist, director and multi-instrumentalist Magnus Westwell during their first Artist in Residence programme of 2024, from 8th-14th April. A renowned beacon of boundary-pushing creative thinking and home to an exceptional art collection, The Mandrake Hotel adds another exciting layer to the fabric of Fitzrovia as a premier hub for strong contemporary art practice and enthusiasm.



 The inaugural Fitzrovia Lates event will take place 11th April from 6:00-8:00 PM, and we look forward to welcoming everyone to this exciting re-launch. Click here for the details.

 

For more information on either Fitzrovia Lates and/or Magnus Westwell’s open studio events, showcases and a special Q&A session during their residency, please email kate@artscopeintl.com.

 

 

96 views

Comments


bottom of page