hARTslane directors: Sigrun Sverrisdottir, Tisna Westerhof and Cristiana Bottigella (photo: Rachael House)

hARTlane curatorial team & experimental art project space was established in March 2012 by Cristiana Bottigella, Sigrun Sverrisdottir and Tisna Westerhof, in New Cross Gate, South London, in a building which had formerly been left vacant for many years.

A not-for-profit socially engaged art practice hARTslane exists to enable emerging and experimental artists, curators and arts practitioners to work free from commercial restraints in an innovative and experimental environment. The cultural program focuses on visual and performing arts, participatory art practices as well as interior and building design.

Always seeking to engage the neighboring community in the cultural activities and encourage their participation, we bring art into the lives of a broad public and offer people a place to meet and enjoy the arts.

These efforts help keep art a vital and exciting part of the urban experiences of a diverse range of people, not just those served by traditional art galleries. hARTslane is an unusual raw setting and a catalyst for creative experimentation, networking and inspiration.

The gallery also provides a platform to discuss, understand and challenge the top down gentrification developments happening in London and especially in New Cross Gate. We look for creative regeneration from within the community as an alternative.

"There are many artists and art students in the area for whom it is an increasing struggle to survive financially in a city that is slowly pricing them out. I work full time for minimum wage and do freelance sign writing on the side but that still leaves me earning barely enough to get by, let alone host and fund an art exhibition. To be frank, without Harts Lane it just wouldn't be happening and I think the space is an invaluable asset to the South East of London and anyone who recognises the importance of cultivating creativity."
Jamie Wilkes, artist



The site we occupy on 17 Harts Lane in South East London is owned by the local authority; London Borough of Lewisham.

Originally a horse stable, the building was extended and used as a garage until 2004.

In early 2012, after pursuing this project for over a year to gain permission to use the vacant building for design studio & art workshop and to organise art exhibitions open to the public, the old garage at Harts Lane was peacefully occupied as part of a campaign for affordable housing in Lewisham led by the local pressure group People Before Profit.

Building works to do necessary repairs to the roof, walls and floor, to make it usable as a gallery space started immediately and were carried out with the help of local volunteers. Harts Lane Studios inaugurated as an artist-run space with the exhibition titled Heaven Baby curated by Katie Surridge on 21st April that year.

Since then, hARTslane has curated exhibitions and art projects in London and internationally. In 2014 Deptford Stories aimed to respond to the rich industrial heritage of Deptford and brought together 30 international artists including: Hermione Allsopp, James Capper, Cedric Christie, Carla Cruz, Caroline Lambard, Paul Tucker and Vanya Balogh.
In 2015, Venice Pavilion in London looked at the concept of ‘nationality’ and its relevance in today’s globalisation of the art community through the artworks of, amongst the others Gayle Chong Kwan, Shadi Habib Allah, Jwan Yosef and Eugene Palmer. In 2016/17 hARTslane curated Personal Relations, an international tour of miniature-portraits by 150 international artists featuring Jeff Lowe, Vaughan Grylls, Beatrice Catanzaro and Marlies van Boekel.

Other shows included the follwong artists; Chris Calerwood, Jude Cowan Montague, Fiona Grady, Angela Wright, Clive Burton, Roxy Walsh, Richard Caldicott, Annabel Dover, Brigitte Parousel, Rachael House, Liam Fleming, RUN and [NAME].

In May 2013 the Mayor of Lewisham recommended Harts Lane Studios to be registered as an Asset of Community Value. This would ensure that the association kept control of the building. In April 2015 Harts Lane Studios became hARTslane, a company limited by guarantee operating as a social enterprise.

hARTslane is supported by Lewisham Council and the Big Lottery Fund, along with a range of other sponsors, funders and supporters and has collaborated with national and international institutions such us; Goldsmiths College of Arts; The London Community Video Archive; The London Group; DeptfordX; Artlicks; Greenspace; Pulchri Studio (Holland) and This Is Not Art (Italy).

hARTslane team:
Cristiana Bottigella, founding member, gallery director.
Sigrun Sverrisdottir, founding member, building & interior designer.
Tisna Westerhof, founding member, co-curator.

Please read a review of Deptford Stories in The Art Newspaper by Louisa Buck: "I greatly enjoyed Deptford Stories, both in curation and in content, really exciting and one of the best 'raw space' shows I've seen for a very long time!"
Or how "A derelict garage in New Cross Gate has been transformed into one of the more unlikely galleries to exhibit work from the areas’ flourishing art scene" on the Eastlondonlines
You can find also read hARTslane Space: when art is with (and for) the community on This Is Not Art website.


"Hartslane is a very accessible, friendly and flexible place to work that enables experimentation and exhibition
in a vibrant and easy to reach part of London.
The unique characteristics of the building allow for interesting possibilities for combinations of art works
and architectural character. The affordability and support of the people running the space ensure
artists can focus on new ideas in a relaxed and quiet environment."

Nayan Kulkarni, artist