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London’s Not-For-Profit Art Scene: Our 10 Favourite Picks

Eduard Steimle - 25th March 2019 - 0 comments

With Leonardo da Vinci’s Salvator Mundi selling at a whopping $460 million in 2017, you may be wondering — “how did we get here?”. Seeing the authority of economic forces surrounding your favourite art may be disheartening and you may be longing for a remedy for this moral conflict.

With hearts full of soul we respond to your call: consider not-for-profit art galleries! Full of emerging talent, these are pillars of hope for art lovers like us. They range from community-centered pop-up spaces in London’s vibrant neighbourhoods to museum-scale giants funded by UK’s largest charitable trusts. We hope this list of our 10 favourite spaces serves you well as a source of inspiration for your weekend art agenda!

Given the unique mission of each one of them, it would be impossible to rank these exhibition spaces by quality. This list does, therefore, not assume any particular order.

Parasol Unit

The brainchild of well-renowned art historian and curator Dr. Ziba Ardalan, the Parasol Unit is a real inspiration for the rest of the not-for-profit London art scene. Bringing to London (often for the first time) groundbreaking ideas of international emerging artists, Parasol Unit also offers an engaging array of educational activities, ranging from exclusive curatorial talks to art classes for children.

“We have a total commitment to artists and their creative endeavour, an attitude which leads to a singular relationship developing between each exhibiting artist and the foundation.”

What’s on?

Admission: Free

Address: 14 Wharf Road, London N1 7RW

Estorick Collection

Don’t know about you, but we are absolute suckers for Modern Italian Art!

What if we told you that London is home to one of the greatest collections of Modern Italian Art, with works ranging from Balla and Boccioni to de Chirico and Modigliani!

The gorgeous Georgian building also hosts a vibrant programme of temporary exhibitions, bringing to London the breadth of Italian elegance and experimentalism of the 20th century.

What’s on?


  • £7.50, Concessions £5.50
  • National Art Pass £3.75
  • Free to school children and full time students with valid NUS ID card.

Address: Estorick Collection of Modern Italian Art, 39a Canonbury Square, London, N1 2AN

Wellcome Collection

Part of the Wellcome Trust, a global charitable foundation in the scientific sphere, the Wellcome Collection is home to both permanent and temporary exhibitions aimed at using artistic representation to ignite and further public dialogue about individual and collective health.

The building is also home to a magnificent library with historical texts and one of the best reading spaces in London (…and possibly the world!).

What’s on?


Address: Wellcome Collection, 183 Euston Rd, London, NW1 2BE

Zabludowicz Collection

Set in a Victorian-style Methodist Chapel just a short walk from Camden Market, the collection is part of an international programme of exhibitions and partnerships across the UK, USA and Finland. The collection’s London venue hosts an active engagement programme, comprising of:

“the Invites series, which offers emerging artists without UK commercial gallery representation the opportunity to produce a solo exhibition and event, and Testing Ground, an annual season exploring art and education working with London’s premier universities.

During our visits, the space did not fail to renew itself in its ever-shifting consciousness.

What’s on?

Admission: Free

Address: Zabludowicz Collection, 176 Prince of Wales Road, London, NW5 3PT

Korean Cultural Centre

Launched under the oversight of the ‘Embassy of the Republic of Korea’ London and situated near Trafalgar Square,

“the role of the KCCUK is to enhance friendship, amity and understanding between Korea and the UK through cultural and educational activities.”

With a programme ranging from contemporary art exhibitions of Korea’s emerging talent to Korean film and literature nights, the centre is an impressive one-stop-shop for your future love affair with Korean culture. They continue to partner with the most influential institutions such as Art Night, Delfina Foundation, Hayward Gallery, Ikon Gallery, Serpentine Galleries, The Showroom, Spike Island, V&A and the Whitechapel Gallery.

What’s on?


Address: Korean Cultural Centre UK, Grand Buildings, 1–3 Strand, London WC2N 5BW

South London Gallery

Titled as “the most innovative art space in the capital” by Alicia Burrell (The Sunday Times), the SLG is a real ‘founding father’ of London’s not-for-profit cultural programme — established in 1891 to ‘bring art to the people of south London’.

With numerous free-to-access public galleries, a creative space for local families and two permanent gardens, the gallery assembles an extraordinary year-round programme of British and international emerging artists.

What’s on?


Address:65–67 Peckham Road, London, SE5 8UH

Chisenhale Gallery

With 36 years of promoting some of the UK’s most exciting emerging talent, Chisenhale’s East End space operates as an exhibition hall, production agency, research centre, and a community resource.

It focuses on commissioning and producing works that allow artists to conceptualise more ambitious and groundbreaking projects.

What’s on?

Admission: Free

Address: Chisenhale Gallery, 64 Chisenhale Road, London E3 5QZ

Delfina Foundation

Tucked right behind the grandeur of the Buckingham Palace, the Delfina Foundation is a key artistic hub in London. Founded in 2007, the foundation offers international artists a residency programme that encourages collaboration, innovation and experimentation.

With a rich programme of exhibitions, curatorial talks, and collaborations with other art institutions, Delfina Foundations’ last exhibition “Power Play” explored “the power dynamics at play in relationships between individuals, institutions and the state.”

What’s on?

New exhibition announced soon.


Address: Delfina Foundation, 29/31 Catherine Place, London, SW1E 6DY

Studio Voltaire

Priding themselves as an institution which encourages “risk-taking and experimentation”, Studio Voltaire supports careers of up-and-coming artists by organising their first solo exhibitions in London. Housing the production process of over forty-five artists in their on-site studios, Studio Voltaire has established itself as a pioneer of London’s avant-garde.

“Studio Voltaire has become one of the most energising spaces in London. Its ad–hoc approach and knack for spotting young talent makes it a formidable presence on the city’s art scene.” — The Guardian

What’s on?


Address: Studio Voltaire, 1a Nelsons Row, London, SW4 7JR


Having heroically transformed a long-neglected space in the heart of Hoxton 20 years ago, PEER has since stood at the core of the local community. Beyond that, PEER-commissioned works by emerging artists have later featured at the British Pavilion at the 2011 Venice Biennale, Guggenheim Museum in New York, as well as having been acquired by Tate’s collection.

With a spirited programme, artist-led talks, workshops and charitable events such as “Adopt a Tub”, PEER is sure to steal your heart just as it stole ours.

What’s on?

Jadé Fadojutimi: The Numbing Vibrancy of Characters in Play (1 February — 6 April 2019)

Admission: Free

Address: 97–99 Hoxton Street, London, N1 6QL

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