Art Fest Champions British Talent in Olympic Shadow

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LONDON (REUTERS).- Just a shotput’s throw from the perimeter of the Olympic site in east London, an event highlighting the strength and diversity of Britain’s creative industries, took place over the weekend. Hackney Wicked, an art festival in its third year, showcased the work of the artists working in the 624 studios in Hackney Wick, a scruffy and neglected corner of Hackney, a vibrant but poor district in east London. The neighborhood with its crumbling warehouses and drab low-rise council houses nestles in the shadow of the construction site for London’s 2012 Olympics with its gleaming new velodrome, swimming complex and athletics stadium. Festival goers on Friday night ambled in to a food processing plant where potatoes and carrots were being chopped for distribution to pubs and restaurants around London. On Sunday there was a children’s “drawing Olympics,” but older frustrated artists who hadn’t picked up a paintbrush since their school days could also pick up a pallet and