Art at the Tea Factory

In our predictions for 2008, we said that the opening of the gallery at the Tea Factory would be a highlight for the area. So we were very pleased to receive this email from Rebecca Glover yesterday, which shows the project is moving forward in the right way. In our view it's vital that the people taking it on are focused on the project and drawn from across the community, rather than from one pre-existing group:

As you may already know, a community arts/gallery space is planned in the renovated Tea Factory at 100-106 Endwell Road, SE4. This space is being offered to us, the people of Brockley, by the developers, rent free for two years. After this period we will have the opportunity to continue to occupy the unit on business terms. It is a 75 sq. mtr shell, on street level, due for completion in April 2008.

Having met with Andrew Carmichael from the Creative Lewisham Agency, we have discussed the possibility of creating a co-operative, non-profit making organisation which would be beneficial for all involved.

We feel that this is an exciting opportunity for Brockley, furthering social, economic and environmental well being in the borough. This gallery would support and promote the arts, encouraging personal and community development.

We are looking for involvement from anyone with an active interest in this community project. We are seeking advice and help from volunteers such as: designers, architects, solicitors, electricians, plumbers, carpenters, builders, glaziers, cleaners, painters and decorators, administrators, curators, invigilators, artists, managers, web designers, local business people, PR people, planners, gallery managers, promoters, technicians, registered gas fitters, evaluators, journalists, documenters, lifters and carriers, book keepers, security firms, communicators, negotiators, marketing and publicity managers, funders and fundraisers to name but a few.

We also welcome your views, supportive comments and supportive criticism on this venture.

• Do you like the idea of an art space in Brockley?
• Who should the gallery be for?
• What kind of art would you like to see in the gallery?
• Should it be run as a co-operative? If not, why not?
• How much money do you think a member of the co-operative should contribute per month?
• A name for the gallery? We like Art Tea Factory/Art Tea Place, your opinions please or any alternative suggestions.

Please could you spare some of your time, thoughts and skills in making this project work, or pass this message on to any friends, family and colleagues who may be interested.

You can email me (rebecca@nicearts.co.uk) with any queries and/or to confirm your interest in attending the next meeting which will take place later this month.

54 comments:

Headhunter said...

There should be lots of demand for a space like this with so many artists in Brockers... Many of them opened their doors for the Open Studio event last year, and what about the students at Goldsmiths? As a co-operative, how does funding and organisation work?

Sian said...

Hi there

I'm working on the Tea Factory project with Rebecca. We've talked to other artists co-operatives in the area and the idea to run the co-operative would work something like this:

The co-operative would compose of a set number of local artists

Each artist would pay a nominal monthly fee to cover the majority of running costs (heating, electricity , phone, etc)

Each artist would also need to be available on a set day either once a month or once every two months to staff the gallery.

The financial and time commitment depends very much on the size of the co-operative. In return, artists would have access to disply space and a retain outlet for their works.

We also intend on splitting the gallery and having an area for hire to external artists to diplay their work on a rotating basis.

The project is still very much in the early planning stages, so any comments are appreciated.

Cheers!

Monkeyboy said...

I do some great sculptures made from stuff I find under the microwave, mainly old peas and breadcrumbs. I could send you a photo?

Brockley Nick said...

I think it's really important to have exhibitions from non-Brockley artists, if only to help raise its profile outside of SE4, which will be vital to its long-term viability.

I'd also hope that it could play a central role in events like Open Studio and BMax.

And as headhunter has said, it would be wonderful to see Goldsmiths give it proper support. They've traditionally remained rather aloof from events in SE4, despite the fact that many of their students and former students live around here.

Sian said...

We are currently involved in discussions with the Brockley Cross Action group, and are due to present to the trustees later on in the month, with the aim of running the co-operative under the BXAG umbrella. In return, we've already agreed to fundraise for the BrockleyMAX whilst trying to raise funds for the gallery. At the moment, it is a complete shell, so we need aroung £12,000 to fit it out.

As for involement with Goldsmith's, we have some ideas already. Watch this space!

Amanda Wickham said...

Do you like the idea of an art space in Brockley? - Absolutely, this is great!

Who should the gallery be for? - Predominately SE London artists

What kind of art would you like to see in the gallery? - I envisage it as South London’s answer to the ICA, so contemporary art that involves and engages the community, BUT needs to be of quality & standard ...act local but think global.

Should it be run as a co-operative? If not, why not? Maybe, depends on the calibre of people involved and or training for them. A local trust may be better.
How much money do you think a member of the co-operative should contribute per month? £5 per month but scale depending on income extent of involvement.

A name for the gallery? We like Art Tea Factory/Art Tea Place, your opinions please or any alternative suggestions. - I see what you are doing there, Arty, but I don’t like it, I’ll come back to with regards to an alternative.

Andy Pandy Pudding & Pie said...

Do you like the idea of an art space in Brockley? - Is the pope catholic?

Who should the gallery be for? - Mixed use. At this stage i think we should be fully committed to offer the whole space to either outside se4'ers or inside ones, depending upon the demand. Need to be flexible to make it work in the long run.

What kind of art would you like to see in the gallery? - Some scuplutures would be nice, more modern stuff.

Should it be run as a co-operative? If not, why not? Maybe, depends on the calibre of people involved and or training for them. A local trust may be better.
How much money do you think a member of the co-operative should contribute per month? - You need to seriously think about the practicalities of how this will work. I can imagine it will be a nightmare in terms of getting people to staff it (and COMMIT to it) and you may well find yourself spending a fortune on administration. I like the idea of a co-op and have no problems with the members being involved but you MUST operate it on normal commercial terms (with your business head in place) to secure the long run success. i do not want to see a white elephant in brockley.

Fees per member will therefore depend on the but scale of involvement.

A name for the gallery? We like Art Tea Factory/Art Tea Place, your opinions please or any alternative suggestions. - I think those names are a terrible idea. To preserve the diversity of brockley, and enhance its appeal, think about calling it nothing to do with the building!

Sian said...

We can accept criticism about the name... Any other suggestions gratefully received, as we need to get websites, letterheads, etc up and running soon!

Anonymous said...

4 Art ???? SE4 Art????

tyrwhitt michael said...

We already have an Art House in Brockley why not simply Art Factory....

betamatt said...

The Tea Gallery?

Anonymous said...

If it's going to promoted Brokkers to the wider world them maybe Brockley should be in the name? The Brockley Art House?

Anonymous said...

wasn't andy warhols place called 'the factory'?

Anonymous said...

Brockley Max?

Art @ The Cross?

Brockley Junction?

The Junction?

Open Studio?

The Factory? (!)


NOT Art Tea Factory/Place please! It is a very laboured pun, which isn't very big or clever, and I'll wince whenever I see it.

Anonymous said...

The Co-op on the corner.

David said...

As to a name, agree the use of "art tea" is not great.

As a gallery serving the Brockley community and Brockley artists, it should be along the simple lines of "The Brockley Gallery".

"brockley Art House" would be good but (1) it's not a house, it's a gallery and (2) there is already the Art House on Lewisham Way.

Anonymous said...

The Space.

The Brockley Space.

Space in Brockley.

The Space in Brockley.

Anonymous said...

The ground floor gallery

The gallery downstairs.

Tom said...

The Tea Gallery (as suggested above) has a nice ring to it.

Amanda Wickham said...

Brockley does have a tradition of buildings/shops with odd/punny names. Having attempted to come up with a name myself I can see why you went with Art Tea Factory as it combines the history of the building with its future purpose.

Brockley Nick said...

I agree it would be great if it could have Brockley in the title.

The Brockley Gallery
The Brockley Art Room (after all, it is one simple room, essentially)

Nothing with '@' in the name please - it's a bit 1990s...

Anonymous said...

I think 'anonymous' has a good point and the name should probably make reference to Brockley in some way. I really like their suggestion of "The Brockley Art House".
My own modest suggestions would be 'Brockley Art Source', 'Canvas Heart', 'The St. George Galleries' (in honour of our patron Saint), 'Expose4'..note the SE4 (how do i do it!).

Either way what a great initiative, well done to all involved!

Anonymous said...

tea/se4

Sian said...

Please keep your suggestions coming!

We've put together a news group where you can keep updated on the lastest information etc, and also access past minutes, look at architect plans etc. We may even put up a poll of name suggestions...

Please feel free to join, and to pass the information on to anyone you feel may want to get involved. This is a community project, and the more Brockley residents we reach, the more likely it is the gallery will be successful.

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/teafactorygallery/

Brockley Nick said...

Sian, I'd be happy to run a poll on here - we're always looking for new poll topics and the last one like this we did certainly got people talking... ;)

Sian said...

That would be fab. I'll have a chat with Rebecca and the rest of the steering group, and hand over a shortlist soon. If people want to contact me directly, I can be emailed at sianknight@gmail.com.

Thanks!

Headhunter said...

"Ask Toes"?

Headhunter said...

"Ask Toes"?

jon s said...

How about a split use gallery, 9 months as a cooperative and 3 months as a going concern? The commercial art gallery could to pull in successful artists with pieces around £5000 mark. (My personal faourite is sergei chepik.)

Profits from the commercial gallery could be recycled into the gallery for the remaining 9 months to cover overheads.

As for a name ................. Art Tea Bites ...............

Artist (from Goldsmiths) said...

Hi I really really think that the name should be left as 'The Tea Factory'. After all there is already 'The Chocolate Factory'(art gallery) which is a very succesful place, and there are plenty of Galleries that don't have 'Art' in the title such as 'Flowers East',and 'Haunch of Venisen'. 'The Tea Factory',is a fantastic stylish name,and also reflects the history of the area. don't fix something that is not broken. Please stay with that name it is great! Titles don't have to be literal. Please don't change the name,leave it as it is!

spincat said...

I agree - The Tea Factory is a good name in itself. If people are attracted by the name and the exhibitions that it puts on then they will come - it will become known as a Brockley attration by name by dint of the quality of what is on offer.

Kate said...

Yeah I like the name 'the Tea Factory' too.

luxmore said...

Tea Factory
Tea Factory
Tea Factory


sounds fine. Have to leave our wonderful art house well alone. The Bear on deptford high st & in greenwich do gallery well, imho

Monkeyboy said...

Frankly I couldn't give a stuff what they call it as long as I can buy something to stick on my wall. Something like that 70's pster of a woman tennins player scratching her arse?

Monkeyboy said...

I really must learn to type, some shocking spelling in that last post.

artist (from Goldsmiths) said...

I agree I would like to see modern work at the gallery,very contemporary. I would like to see high quality, exciting, engaging and challenging contemporary painting. Also possibly that type of sculpture.

Goldsmiths Artist said...

There could be installations too. It would be nice if it was a bit like the South London Gallery, with that high quality of work.

fabhat said...

The brockley art room or the tea factory both sound good. Or t/se4 if you want to get the se4 ref in. I'd like the gallery to include photography as well - I admit I have a vested interest (as a photographers agent) but I also think having a mix of different types of art gets more people interested than if they think it only does one thing...
I;m certainly looking forward to hearing more about it.

tilt said...

Tea Gallery goes well with Tea Factory. It would delineate between the living space and gallery space.

Think that it's generous of Tea Factory to make space available free for two years..just need people to actually get involved/motivated, but should'nt be a problem looking at this blog.

Anonymous said...

The Tea Room.

Catt said...

I agree with the suggestion to keep it as 'The Tea Factory'. It would be good to try to preserve the history of the building which is in itself a part of Brockley's history.

Catt said...

By the way...i'm very interested in getting involved. I'm hoping it may serve as an opportunity for new artists in the area as well as those that are well established

Becky of Brockley said...

I'm liking SE4 Art. expose 4 not bad.

Becky of Brockley said...

I'm liking SE4 Art. expose 4 not bad.

Ed said...

I agree with using the Tea Factory/ Teafactory name or some refence to Brockley (Cross). I think it is a mistake to fall into the txtspk trap, using @ and 4 etc.

My choice:

The Cross Gallery, The Teafactory, Brockley Cross

Becky of Brockley said...

Tragic Roundabout/Tragic Roundabout Arts......?

Anonymous said...

Tea Leaf
The Tea Leaf
Tea Leaf Arts

Somes up Brockley quite well, don't you think?

Sian said...

OK, *all* of the 40-odd suggestions have been posted in a two-part poll on the news group:

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/teafactorygallery/polls

Please note, you need to sign up to the newsgroup to vote on this poll.

Once we have a shortlist of six, I'll ask Nick to post them up here so everyone can vote on their favourite. For any late entries, please let me have them asap.

Sian said...

Sorry, bad link:

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/teafactorygallery/

Monkeyboy said...

...getting back to the point. The gallery will have to support itself at the end of the free period so local artists should be nurtured but a bit of hard nosed comercialism is called for. The stuff has to sell as well as being interesting to look at. The two things don't always mix but hopefully it'll be better than some of the tat sold at Greenwich market.

Amanda said...

I mentioned earlier that I hoped the as yet unnamed art space on Endwell road could be like an ICA. That sounds slightly ambitious given the size of the space. Nevertheless I do hope that workshops will take place there and that it isn't just a gallery limited to established artists, because the amount of graffiti about would suggest there's a lot of people around here who'd like to express themselves. I really hope it engages the whole community. Older people, little ones, teens etc

Sian said...

Just a quick reminder to let you know voting on a shortlist for the name of the gallery will close on Monday 21st January. Please visit the site and vote if you haven't already done so, and the result will be posted here shortly.

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/teafactorygallery/

a Brockley artist said...

Hi, I'm new to Brockley and would be really interested in being involved with the art space.

Staffing the gallery for a day per month or every 2 months sounds reasonable to me in exchange for regular display space and local publicity, but it could be difficult to organise security etc with different staff every day - perhaps a local business such as one of the new cafes could be involved - keys could be left there and in return perhaps they could have some kind of advertising?

In terms of the name (although I see from the dates it is probably already decided), I agree it's important to be wary of cheesey puns, but it is also good to make some subtle reference to the building's previous use. There is already a 'Tea Building' in Shoreditch which has housed successful galleries, so it should be something different from that. If there was going to be a seating area you could always make the gallery a bit different (and more community-based / less stuffy) and serve tea to visitors viewing the art - or just build strong links with all the lovely cafes in Brockley (Moonbow Jakes, The Broca etc) which all show art work as well - I'm sure a partnership could be mutually beneficial.

Anyway, if you are looking for artists please do consider me. I showed at Open Studios last year and you can see my more recent MA work at www.carolineunderwood.com

P.S. You might think about creating a facebook group for this project - there are already a few well-subscribed Brockley-based groups on facebook.

Anonymous said...

hi there
i am very excited about the tea factory

i am an animation film maker and illustrator and just wanted to say that it would be great if brockley illustrators could be included in the tea factory co-operative spaces/studios.

i work in my shed at the moment as to find a studio space for illustrators is impossible. the amazing shared spaces they have in the numerous deptford studios are only available for "artists" of which illustrators sadly do not fit the criteria.

i think it would be fabulous if the tea factory was not exlusive to specific groups of people but was focused on creativity as a whole. this would make the mix and buzz of the place much more vibrant and interesting i think!

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