On January 14th, 2013, the 491 Gallery closed its doors for the final time, having been bought by property developers looking to build a generic block of flats next to one of London's most polluted roads. In mid-2016, after protracted planning battles, it was demolished, and its community garden was bulldozed, despite permission to do that explicitly having been denied as a condition of planning approval. As 2017 approaches, the site remains a hole in the ground. When a new building is built, a planning condition for it is to contain a ground floor community arts space. We thank all those within Waltham Forest Council who fought our side, the local community's side, against cheap, nasty, and lying property developers to get that condition included.
Our home may be gone, but the family we created will live on. Thank you everyone that ever sang, danced, performed, painted, photographed, or just came to be part of the 491 Gallery community - we had twelve incredible years, and it was all because of you.
In October 2001, a vacant and abused building in east London was occupied by a group of artists. They transformed it beyond recognition: an eyesore became a vibrant, thriving space for art, music and theatre. They landscaped the weed-strewn wasteland of motorway-construction debris behind it into a wildlife-rich community nature garden, home to hundreds of species of plants and animals.
Ever since, the 491 Gallery has served as a cultural venue for people of the local area, east London and beyond. We regularly host conferences, concerts, art exhibitions, film screenings, concerts and dramatic performances, and offer workshops in everything from life drawing to comedy, sculpting, yoga, technology, and photography; and have the area's only music rehearsal studio for bands.
Take a look at our gallery of flyers for some of the exhibitions and events we've hosted, and have a look at our favourite photos on Flickr to see all sorts of great photos people took of us over the years.