A fond farewell from Departure Lounge: 


Dear Friends

At the end of October Departure Lounge announced what we hoped would be a temporary closure. Regretfully, following some very disappointing funding news we must now announce that the gallery will close for the foreseeable future.

Departure Lounge was established in 2010 and offered breakthrough exhibitions, commissions and publishing opportunities to an international array of contemporary artists -- in particular in the area of photography, and very often showcasing the work of women artists. Working peripatetically across four different spaces (including a former bank, a formers hairdresser’s and a former hat showroom) some of the highlights during this period have included our inaugural show Disruptive Members with Nigel Grimmer followed by our first international commission Escape from Colditz with Leipzig based artists Annette and Erasmus Schroeter, and a whistle-stop tour through all that was interesting and innovative in international photography with participating artists including Vanley Burke, John Myers, Julie Cook, Nancy Newberry, Jane Hilton, Susan Barnett, Catrine Val, Thomas Mailaender, Kurt Tong and Haley Morris Cafiero, with the occasional excursion into conceptual sculpture and performance with Yva Jung, Tom Hacket, Dominic from Luton, Sarah Baker and Idit Nathan. All of our past programme can be viewed on our archive page.

We complimented our national and international vision by working with a number of globally ambitious local artists including Asiya Clarke, Abi Spendlove, Maria Meyer and Anna Fairchild all of whose practice aligned with our belief that Luton could be an international shop window for the visual arts. The vision of our partners Culture Trust Luton, whose work in the the Hat District to refurbish and put to creative use the built heritage of Luton’s millinery industry -- and Luton Council’s ambitious Luton 2040 development suggest that our vision for Luton’s renewal is shared and that remarkable and positive change is underway.

Our success, until now, in securing funds from Arts Council England and other funders is testament to a shared belief in Luton’s potential, and in closing I would like to thank all our funders, partners, Departure Lounge’s amazing current and former curatorial staff and interns, and especially, the artists we have worked with. Starting from scratch as we did, we have often had to make it up as we went along and it’s been quite a journey, often challenging but never boring!

Watch this space.

Matthew Shaul
Director, Departure Lounge.

For further information on the gallery please email me at

Thursday, Friday, Saturday
13.00 - 18.00


64 Bute Street,
Luton, LU1 2EY


In partnership with The Culture Trust Luton

In order to ensure the safety of our staff and audience members, we kindly ask all visitors to:
  • Wear a face covering
  • Use the hand sanitiser provided before entering the gallery space

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Departure Lounge Contemporary Art
Community Interest Company
Registered company no. 12578844