Observations: The Wick is hot for local art in Hackney

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The Independent Culture

Who knew that London's Hackney Wick has the largest number of artists per square metre than anywhere else in the world? From today and throughout the weekend, more than 500 of them will be out in force, taking part in the second annual Hackney WickED arts festival to highlight the artist community living and working in the area.

As well as artwork on show in galleries and open studios, there will also be film, sound and performance-based pieces in the Red Room at the Counter Cafe on Fish Island; live music; a graffiti jam; a watercolour painting challenge and exhibition by the river; and an Artscream truck selling affordable art from a borrowed ice-cream van. On the more serious side, Nomadic Projects are looking at the radical changes happening in the lead up to the Olympic Games in The Museum of Hackney Wick, situated in an imaginary future where the borough in its current form will cease to exist.

It's an issue that the directors of the festival are well aware of – their long-term aim is to help safeguard local artists' future. "We're a bit of a last-bastion place. We want to keep artistic creativity within the centre of London and make sure the artists' needs are recognised," explains Joanna Hughes, one of the festival directors. To say thanks for everything arty that Hackney Wick stands for, the weekend's festival will end with a street procession and ritual burning of the wicker man.