Ksenia zemtsova is co-founder of Art Night London. Now in its third year, the festival puts art into extraordinary locations for one summer night, encouraging the public to experience their city in a new way. Each year the festival partners with a leading cultural institution, focusing on a different area of London to explore its distinctive identity, culture and architecture through various forms of art.

This idea came from Ksenia’s experience in the Cabinet of the Deputy Mayor of Paris for Culture. She is interested in the positive impact of the arts on the public realm and is always keen to discover and create new cultural experiences. Raised in Brussels, she studied Public Affairs at Sciences Po Paris and holds an MSc in International Relations from LSE.

If there was one piece of art you could feature in, which would it be and why?

I would have loved to feature in a painting by Gustave Moreau or Odilon Redon. Both are French symbolist from the XIX century whose paintings are synonymous of exoticism, filled with mythological or fantastical figures. They create an environment conducive to daydreaming and poetry, in stark contrast with our busy lifestyles focused on productivity.

Today most of Moreau’s paintings and drawings are displayed in his former workshop, one of the most romantic and inspiring museums located in Paris’ 9th arrondissement. 

How will museums impact future cities?

I believe that museums will have a huge impact in shaping the future of our cities as they offer an intangible cultural value to developers and public authorities developing new neighborhoods. We can already feel this today, when cultural institutions and galleries play an important role in the upcoming areas of London and are considered as beacons of inspiration and attractiveness for residents, visitors and tourists. 

What are your favourite emerging cultural cities?

I traveled to Tbilisi this summer and was hugely impressed by the people’s creative spirit and innovative take on one of the oldest cities in the world. A lot of Georgian artists, designers and entrepreneurs are now moving back to their hometown that is buzzing with new ideas and exciting places like Fabrika, a multi-use space housed in an old soviet-era sewing factory where you can find bars, art studios, exhibitions and workshops. Another great initiative is the Moving Gallery by Project ArtBeat – a shipping container transformed into a gallery travelling around the country. 

Who do you think are the cultural innovators of tomorrow?

 believe that the cultural innovators of tomorrow are the ones that understand the power of a pluridisciplinary and collaborative approach to arts as well as the need for a flexible space. The Barbican was a pioneer of this approach. The Shed in New York, opening in 2019, will be the first multi-arts center where you can watch a movie, attend a hip-hop concert or a performance or see a world class exhibition – all under one roof. 

What are you up to at the moment?

I’m currently planning the third edition of Art Night, an all-night contemporary arts festival in extraordinary spaces that takes over a different area of London every year. For Art Night 2018 we are moving south of the river, bringing together iconic venues, secret locations and new developments along a trail of art, music and food for one summer night – all for free. You can find more information here: artnight.london