Warsaw gallery openings boost urban regeneration

Three new spaces hope to create a new arts neighbourhood in Polish capital

Soho Factory

WARSAW. In a boost to Warsaw’s independent gallery scene, three new spaces are set to open in the same neighborhood of the Polish capital on 7 May. By coordinating their openings, the non-profit exhibition space, Piktogram, and commercial galleries BWA Warszawa and Leto, hope to attract increased attention to the underdeveloped Praga area, which it is hoped may become a new focal point for the arts in Warsaw.

Located in a regenerated industrial complex, Soho Factory, on the eastern bank of the Vistula river, which divides the city, the new Piktogram space, run by the bilingual (Polish-English) international arts magazine of the same name, is intended as the first of its kind for Warsaw. The art centre-style venue will incorporate a central gallery for exhibitions and performances, as well as a cafe/bar and additional project space. The magazine will also relocate its offices to the building, and plans to use a wooden house in the grounds for future artist residencies. It is expected that an exhibition programme will begin in September.

Of the two commercial galleries, Leto, which opened in 2007, is relocating to Soho Factory from its former location in central Warsaw, while BWA Warszawa, a new enterprise, will be based in a nearby house built by the respected modernist architect Czeslaw Przybylski.

With Warsaw’s most prominent exhibition spaces and national institutions located west of the Vistula, the new initiatives in Praga are part of an attempt to take advantage of the cheaper rents and available spaces in the city’s less developed half. As BWA Warszawa co-founder, Michal Suchora, explained: “We'll try to bring a considerable part of the art scene to the opposite river bank. In our case, the building itself plays an important role. It's a pearl of modernist architecture. The fact that we are planning this common event is the first step towards a tight cooperation of these three, and perhaps in the near future four or five, galleries.”

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