The Line is a registered charity (no. 1190073 / company limited by guarantee no. 12392898). It was co-founded by Megan Piper and the late regeneration expert Clive Dutton OBE (1953-2015) whose life’s work was rooted in a commitment to improving the quality of life for people in urban environments and putting art and culture at the heart of regeneration. Local support and engagement with grassroots organisations were key to the development of The Line and continue to be fundamental to its success.
The Line was initiated through a Spacehive crowdfunding campaign, which raised over £140,000 in less than eight weeks in 2014. In the subsequent five years, through the generous support of sponsors and patrons, it ran without public funding. Since its inception, The Line has received phenomenal in-kind support from its Founding Supporters, which include Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners and Farrer & Co. Founding Patrons include Garfield Weston Foundation, Oak Foundation, Bloomberg and Liberty Specialty Markets.
The Line went from being the seed of an idea to opening to the public in just 18 months and in May 2015, The Line unveiled monumental sculptures along the footpaths of East London’s waterways. The inaugural loans, which included Damien Hirst, Eduardo Paolozzi and Thomas J Price, came through an open submission and were selected by a panel that included Turner Prize-winning artist Mark Wallinger and Simon Myers, local resident and founder of Cody Dock. The Line currently includes works by eighteen artists. The majority of these are loans from artists, galleries and private collections but The Line also highlights a number of pre-existing works along the route, including Antony Gormley’s Quantum Cloud and Richard Wilson’s A Slice of Reality.
In 2020, The Line celebrated its fifth anniversary with the extension of its route into Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, the launch of a new website and, for the first time, site-specific projects, commissions and cultural collaborations.
The Line was awarded a Special Mention in the 2020 ULI Europe Awards for Excellence and has recently been listed in Condé Nast Traveller’s Best Walks in London.
The regeneration of London’s Docks and the surrounding area has long been hampered by a lack of connectivity both physical and psychological. The Line brilliantly delivers a thread that ties the area together – suddenly Greenwich Peninsula becomes part of a route that meanders up the Lea Valley to Stratford. It’s an art exhibition that does more than most – it recognises the importance of culture as a key part of city making; it encourages walking and cycling and it leads us to pieces of city that we might not otherwise discover. And it is accessible to all. It is a fine monument to the enthusiasm and curatorial skill of Megan Piper and an appropriate memorial to Clive Dutton whose planning vision we sorely miss.
Peter Murray, Chairman, New London Architecture