Camden Arts Centre

Top 30 things in Camden: Camden Arts Centre

Camden Arts Centre is the place for world-class contemporary art exhibitions and education in Camden. Founded by artists in 1965, the artist’s practice still exists at their core, as they aim to involve the public in a participatory way by engaging them in the ideas and works of contemporary artists. 

Hampstead Arts Centre (renamed Camden Arts Centre in 1967) was created in 1965 providing the local community with classes in painting, life drawing, pottery, printing and basic design. The current Camden Arts Centre is situated at the corner of Arkwright Road and Finchley Road, NW3 in a Grade II listed premises, designed by the architect Arnold Taylor. The building’s integral qualities of simplicity, space and light were ideal for the showing of art and the first exhibition was held a year after the Centre was established. Inevitably, the site soon became a focal point for artists living locally.

Exhibitions feature emerging and international artists showing for the first time in London, historic figures who inspire contemporary practice and artist-selected group shows. Camden Arts Centre also strives to support artists in making new artworks. Central to the agenda is its artist residency programme, which aims to develop artists' practices with practical support, resulting in new work and public participation. Past residency artists have included Salvatore Arancio, David Raymond Conroy, Caroline Achaintre, Jesse Wine, Phoebe Cummings, Emma Hart, Sally O'Reilly, Francis Upritchard, Felix Gonzales-Torres, Mike Nelson, Graham Gussin, Martin Creed and Jordan Baseman. After the show, go and have a drink in their relaxing café that offers wonderful fresh food by Alan and his team, or lie down in the garden to reflect and chat.

In addition to the gallery, Camden Arts Centre hosts residencies, talks, art studios and a range of events and educational programs, both on- and off-site. Their versatile program ensures that the Centre is a dynamic place for seeing, making and talking about art, and many of these events are free! They also offer free family sessions every Sunday when exhibitions are on! Drop in with your little ones to participate in creative activities led by artists Judith Brocklehurst, Matthew Larkinson and Emma McGarry. 

In 2015 the center launched their Online Archive to celebrate Camden 50, presenting images, texts and multimedia materials detailing their work with artists over the years and highlighting recurring themes which have peppered the program over the years. Have a browse to see some excellent work by Glenn Ligon, Matt Collishaw and Kerry Tribe, among others. 

Mark Blower Making and Unmaking exhibition at Camden Arts Centre
Installation view of Making and Unmaking: an exhibition curated by Duro Olowu, 2016 (c) Mark Blower courtesy of Camden Arts Centre