Bethnal Green's Rich Mix Arts Centre in danger of closing

The Rich Mix Arts Centre in Bethnal Green has urged supporters to sign a petition calling for the local council to ease off on demands for payments that the centre argues will bankrupt it if a more reasonable payment plan can't be worked out.

You can sign the petition here and see the details below:

From Rich Mix:

This petition is necessary because Rich Mix is under threat of closure by London Borough of Tower Hamlets. We need your help to tell Tower Hamlets just how important Rich Mix is to the local community, audiences and artists alike.

The dispute is over the repayment of an amount of money that Tower Hamlets is demanding be made in one go, which would result in the closure of Rich Mix. We have made offers to the council to settle the amount owed by making payments over a period of time, but the council have rejected this resolution and continue to spend council tax payers money on this unnecessary legal action.

Rich Mix is central to the arts and community scene in Tower Hamlets and East London. We provide over 650 arts events each year with a third of these being free to access so that no one is excluded from benefiting from the arts by reason of low income.

Our Mission is to be an inclusive place where people of all cultures and heritages can come together and participate in the arts, whether music, theatre, dance, spoken word or film.

We are particularly proud of our role in supporting emerging artists, and in the last year we supported over 140 artists and groups with rehearsal and development space to the value of £315,000. Of these artists, over half were from Tower Hamlets and Hackney, and a similar proportion was from black and ethnic minority backgrounds; reflecting our local area.

Rich Mix works hard to create an attitude of openness and as a result our audiences are mixed, with a high proportion of people who would not normally access and take part in arts activities coming to our events.

We are financially healthy, with a small operating surplus each year. Our only public funding is from Arts Council England and is around 11% of our annual turnover. We have had no revenue support from the council taxpayers of LBTH since March 2009.

The legal action being taken by Tower Hamlets against Rich Mix has the potential to bankrupt the organisation and cause us to close down and stop providing the services and facilities we offer.

We want the Council to know how many people value the role played by Rich Mix in the local community and to appreciate what a pivotal role we play in supporting the arts by giving space to emerging artists and groups.

And we want to stress the devastating impact that closure of Rich Mix will have on artistic and local community life, if this much loved community facility were to close.

We call upon the council to stop the court case and find ways to value and support the work done by Rich Mix.

“I just want to say a big THANK YOU! for giving my daughter an amazing opportunity to take part in Drama in the Mix last night. She came home so full of enthusiasm and transformed by the experience. It’s given her confidence to experiment. As a parent, I’m very grateful.” Parent following Rich Mix’s ‘Drama in the Mix’ for Tower Hamlets school children.


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Owen Van Spall

Greetings. I am a Film History MA graduate from Birkbeck University of London and a trained NCTJ qualified journalist. Apart from a long history of film and news writing for this site and various other publications, I am also a trained photographer with my own camera kit. I write mostly every day. Along the way I have picked up work experience at Sight & Sound, The Guardian, The Independent, The FT, The New Statesman, and more. I have written hard news stories, features, arranged and conducted interviews with celebrities, film directors and other major cultural figures, arranged photo shoots, and covered film festivals, conferences and events in the UK and abroad. If you wish to commission me or enquire about full-time opportunities please find my CV and contact details below. A physical portfolio of print only cuttings can also be provided.