London, city of art

by Cass Art

London as an arts centre offers a near-unrivalled spread of art galleries, cultural happenings, festivals, workshops, openings and much more besides.

If you're looking to pick up some art supplies and start sketching, here are some ideas to get your inspirational juices flowing.


With leading players including Tate, the Barbican and the National Gallery offering big-name exhibitions this summer and into the autumn, you'll be spoilt for choice.

Key picks include the much-talked-about Leandro Erlich's Dalston House (Barbican until August 4th) - which is certainly one not to miss - Patrick Caulfield at Tate Britain (September 1st) and Saints Alive at the National (until November 24th).

For something a little more underground and off the beaten track, give Matt's Gallery a whirl. A contemporary, not-for-profit art space in Bow, east London, Matt's is an interesting art space and not your usual gallery. Well worth a visit.

Elsewhere, try Black Eyes and Lemonade at Whitechapel Gallery, an archive display that looks back at the gallery's 1951 exhibition coinciding with the Festival of Britain, which looked at ‘things that people make or are manufactured to their taste'.

Outside spaces

In London, art is all around. Head to Sculpture in the City and immerse yourself in public art. Nestled in the heart of the Square Mile, Sculpture is a public art initiative that explores the relationship between people and the urban environment.

Now in its third year, this project sees work from contemporary artists - including Jake & Dinos Chapman, Antony Gormley and Richard Wentworth - peppered along various London locations.

Now, you know it takes two to tango. So grab a pal and head on over to Tango @ Spitalfields, which gives you the opportunity to Tango outside in the centre of the capital. Now in its sixth year, this event features a free beginner's lesson followed by three hours of outdoor dancing for everyone. Is this art?

If you are ever on the Old Kent Road in Peckham and you see an industrial estate populated by a lot of young, cool-looking folk, then take a wander over. For this is Auto Italia, a sort-of pop-up art event and project space for artists.

Set in an old VW garage, Auto Italia is a dynamic art site featuring a range of performance art, bars, exhibitions and talks.

Talks, workshops and readings

Pin Drop, founded by Simon Oldfield and Elizabeth Day, sees leading authors (such as Lionel Shriver), actors and cultural commentators reading aloud short stories contemporary and classic in various locations. Happening every Wednesday at 6:30pm at 94 Mount Street, Mayfair,this project seeks to re-engage adults with the spoken word.

Fancy creating a book? You can at Slaughterhaus Print Studio at 123 Hackford Road. With members of the book arts collective Fold, you'll learn how to design, lay-out, print and make a book from scratch over this two-day workshop.

If you're near a Cass Art shop, you'll be interested in a range of workshops we're running over summer. From kids' workshops at our Kingston, Islington and Hampstead sites, to a watercolour masterclass from Keith Hornblower.

Finally, you could just go out and about. As you'll know, inspiration can often be found in the most unlikely and spontaneous of places. Let's fill this town with artists!

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