Displays in 25 non-gallery locations throughout Fitzrovia from 25 March to 16 April 2011

By Garry Hunter

Gum Art, by artist Ben Wilson,  on pavement outside 28 Tottenham Street. The first piece on Art Intervention Trail.
Gum Art, by artist Ben Wilson, on pavement outside 28 Tottenham Street. The first piece on Art Intervention Trail.

Independent arts group Fitzrovia Noir will launch it’s Intervention Art Trail this week, creating what is hoped to be a biennial event alternating with the established London Festival of Architecture every other year.

With funding from Westminster Arts and support from many local individuals and independent businesses, the group will install contemporary art in 25 non-gallery locations stretching up Charlotte Street, taking in Andrew Jose hairdressers, Palms of Goa restaurant, across into The Surplus Store and Jonathan Quearney tailors on Windmill, back onto Charlotte to Chivers Flowers and Reynolds Café, into residential windows on Scala Street, then Pollock’s Toy Museum and The Hope pub on Whitfield Street, along Tottenham Street past the Nail Bar, south down Cleveland taking in The Button Shop and west across Mortimer to Ligne Roset and Mortimer’s Café.

The route past the Middlesex Hospital site is a homage to the first art project that brought the members of Fitzrovia Noir together. This was a group response involving painting, collage, film and photography that saw former patients, local people and workers visiting the remnants of the hospital during its demolition in 2008,  to be photographed, interviewed or portrayed in  the ruined interiors.

Intervention co-curator Graham Carrick says the burgeoning commercial art activity in Fitzrovia will be counterbalanced by this important showcase of independent practice: ‘Since Stuart Shave’s Modern Art pioneered Eastcastle Street as a gallery destination, Fitzrovia has seen a recent boom in commercial art activity. The trail aims to spotlight independent art practice, bridging Fitzrovia’s history with its cultural future.’

The first art piece, a miniature artwork by ‘Gum Man’ Ben Wilson and already located on the pavement by 28 Tottenham Street, is a response to a conversation with a local resident. Gum Man will be on the streets of Fitzrovia, working his detailed magic during the art trail that runs from 25 March through to 16 April.

Art trail producer Lucietta Williams comments: ‘It is especially important to note that the trail features work by both local, national and international artists and will be opened out to local residents, schoolchildren and their families via artist-led walks.’

A series of free tours by writers with extensive published works on the local area, starts with Paul Willets, author of North Soho 999 and the biography of legendary Fitzrovian Julian Maclaren-Ross. If you wish to attend, please join us outside the Marquis of Granby, Rathbone Place on Saturday 2 April at 2 pm. The tour lasts approximately 90 minutes and is followed by a book signing event upstairs at the Wheatsheaf, Rathbone Place from 4pm to 6.30 pm, featuring Paul’s writings, works by local authors and books by artists featured on the art trail. See fitzrovianoir.com for updates.

As a plus, Reynolds Café on Charlotte Street is generously offering a free coffee on April 2, from 10am to 4pm to anyone presenting one of the art trail maps that will be widely distributed in all of the participating venues in the run up to the event from Friday, March 25 to Saturday April 16.