Future of Tea Leaf Arts in the balance

The community art gallery at The Tea Factory faces a race against time to secure its future before the end of this year.


When the Tea Factory was redeveloped two years ago, Tea Leaf Arts were given the gallery space for free for a limited period, as part of the terms of the developer's Section 106 agreement. That period expires at the end of December and unless a solution is found, the gallery will close.

The options include finding enough sources of income to pay rent on commercial terms or persuading the landlord that a peppercorn rent is better than no rent at all.

In any case, please show your support for the gallery by attending one of the upcoming events, which include exhibitions by local artists and art workshops. Click here to see the programme or join them on Friday night for the Exhibition Opening and Poetry Open Mic Event, 7.30-9.30pm. They say:


Alarms and Excursions in association with PLATFORM-7 will be hosting a wordfeast of communication as part of the exhibition on Friday 29th October from 8pm. Served with poetry spices, prose puree and rhyme jelly dessert all with stimulating monologue from whoever happens to be there – FREE

37 comments:

Ed said...

I live in the building and have never been invited to anything. There is a sense of exclusivity about the place and when meetings take place cars are parked illegally on the pavement. I was very excited about living above a gallery but it has been disappointing frankly.

Surely the race against time started a long time ago and the deadline has long been known.

In contrast I find the Green Tea Architects lot very friendly.

Anonymous said...

Whatever happened to the cafe that was going to open?

arty said...

Tea Leaf hasn't really done or has maybe has been able to do enough outreach, to generate a buzz round it to support. They should have pimped themselves out and got fully immersed in all the community.

Tamsin said...

Really difficult, though, for a collective to do any of these things.

But scary how quick the time has passed.

Ed said...

Agreed Arty.

Every now and then you see a few workmen threatening to do something at the 'Cafe' site but no obvious progress this year...

BX is a busy junction and I still have my doubts about a food/drink place there, especially the outdoor seating idea.

Anonymous said...

I agree about how the time has passed. Seems like yesterday when people were trying to think of a name for it, and I remember thinking that by the time the funding runs out that Brockley would be much changed and enough so to make that place a sure fire winner. I guess not though.

arty said...

If they had asked on here for help for example, I'd have what I could to help or tapped one of my friends.

Anonymous said...

you still can.

Len said...

"The options include finding enough sources of income to pay rent on commercial terms or persuading the landlord that a peppercorn rent is better than no rent at all."

But surely the only way to test this theses is to market the property at a commercial rate - instead of an uncommercial charity showing non-commercial, wannabes.

Brockley Nick said...

Len, in this case, there are two fairly good proxies for the property, with which to evaluate its marketability. There are two other empty units in the Tea Factory, which suggest it will be hard to lease it.

Of course, the landlord may disagree, hence the need to persuade him...

Anonymous said...

It's not a very good gallery and the range of work rarely creeps above the distinctly pedestrian - unless they reinvigorate their ideas they deserve to close - regrettably but inevitably

Ed said...

The freeholder is probably DPS Brockley who aren't much fun to deal with (I own the lease to my flat). Not sure what other tennants' experiences are but think most are renting. That reminds me I must call them as the lift is out and fire alarm faulting AGAIN!

Headhunter said...

Ed - Hasn't the freeholder hired some overpriced managing agent to take care of annoying details like lifts and fire alarms? That's usually the case with leasehold flats. Earlier this year my fellow flat owners and I did a "right to manage" on our building to oust the overpriced, underactive managing agent. It was a pleasure sacking all the gardeners, accountants, cleaners etc that the agent had appointed at our expense.

Anonymous said...

a pleasure sacking people? You're obviously a nasty piece of work.

bbd said...

I wish I was in charge of that place. I feel sad that it may become a bookmakers or a chip shop, think of the stench and that's just the customers.

Tamsin said...

Swing on in and offer to sort them out. They clearly need it and are implicitly if not explicitly looking for help. Someone new and distinct from the exisiting artists could work wonders.

Anonymous said...

I don't want to be unkind, but...
when the gallery was about to open they asked for would be participating artists to pay a subscription, and in return they were guaranteed an exhibition. My thoughts were that this would entice the well-heeled local artists more than the poorer. And as with vanity publishing the result might be less than attractive.
I don't know what the answer is, but I think small local galleries in areas such as Brockley will have a difficult time. We're all artists now, and photographers and designers and writers and DJ's and brain surgeons.

Osh said...

The Tank gallery in Ladywell seems to be doing OK?

Len said...

This was, in my opinion, a gallery too far. Brockley is full of private galleries, which fair quite well, run by established artists. Tea Leaf seemed to my mind below par in much of its work, which appeared to me talent in progress.
I think if I were the landlord the attraction of a peppercorn rent would come low on the radar. If the right vibrant business was placed there, then the others may follow and fill the empty units Nick speaks of. The landlord must be aware of this.

Anonymous said...

The gallery can open a coffee shop/gallery.

Ed said...

There is little point in kicking them out and leaving it vacant although I have been far from impressed by TLA, even the canvas sign looks shabby.

HH, I think DPS do the management themslves to cash in and sub contract lifts etc. I have already told them that the service charge is too high.

Anonymous said...

I've never been there, but doesn't sound like much of a gallery....Does Brockley need it? Up the road in New X and Deptford, there's art bursting out of every corner....

Headhunter said...

Why should I be nasty piece of work if it was a pleasure sacking the hangers on doing irrelevant stuff on our building. It was great. I called them all into a room and sat down and asked them what they thought they could offer me and then pointed at them one by one and said "you're fired". If it's good enough for Lord Sugar, who am I to complain?

Headhunter said...

Ed - unfortunately rising maintanence costs are pretty normal in buildings with flats. Our costs literally doubled to tripled from the time the building was converted into flats. If I were you I would get together with your fellow leaseholders and sort out your own management company and do a "right to manage", then you are your own masters. You can appoint your own, cheaper agent if you wish or do it all yourself... Try here for some information on what to do. You can ring them too, they are very helpful.

TM said...

Doesn't sound very hopeful for its survival.

I thought this was on the cards some months ago when talking to one of the (now former) artists.

John Moonbow said...

Try and pop by this evening as I am organising the poetry part of this very thought provoking exhibition about human communication

BABBLE. Exhibition Opening and Poetry Open Mic Event

Rebecca Glover & Clare Stanhope's Exhibition Opening and Poetry Open Mic Event.

more info below

Best

John Moonbow
Friday 29th Oct 2010 - 8 - 9.30pm
Tea Leaf Arts, 106 Endwell Road, London, SE4 2LX


Alarms and Excursions in association with PLATFORM-7 will be hosting a wordfeast of communication as part of the exhibition on Friday 29th October from 8pm. Served with poetry spices, prose puree and rhyme jelly dessert all with stimulating monologue from whoever happens to be there – FREE

Tower of Babble

The installation addresses the role of language and communication with the added confusion of words and sounds.

Towers are powerful symbols of both myth and reality. They have long been symbolic sites of cultural aspiration, folly and conflict, from the Tower of Babel to the Twin Towers of the World Trade Centre.

Rebecca Glover’s work explores the events at Babel, when the whole world had just one language. The Bible tells us that man was to be punished for building the tower, and that punishment was to be the creation of different languages, so that humans would be divided and unable to understand each other.

“Now then, these are all one people and they speak one language, this is just the beginning of what they are going to do. Soon they will be able to do anything they want. Let us go down and mix up the language so that they will not understand one another”. Genesis 11:1-2

The winding procession like installation, suggests something mythic and almost medieval, leading to the tower which acts as a symbol of human ambition. The installation with its toppled presentation draws attention to the frailty of humanity and civilization.

Visitors are invited to engage with the experience by using the microphone which creates a range of output from distorted audio to tactile effects.

John Gaffen said...

Anonymous,

You are a coward, instead of slagging us off, why haven't you and your friends supported Tea Leaf Arts more? Tea Leaf artists pay £20.00 a month subs, this money is used to pay our bills, without this, we would not even have lasted two years. Everything is done on a voluntary basis. I personally have put in two years of hard graft, but this will shortly come to an end at Christmas. Why don't you see if you can do better! Rather that criticize us, actually get of you’re backside and do something for you community galley? As far as parking goes, the removal of the access ramps makes it very difficult for us to move our artwork in and out. Like any shop, vehicular access is important!

From John Gaffen

Tea Leaf Arts Galley

cdupuy55 said...

The Tea Leaf has had a regular turnover of exhibitions every 2-3 weeks, details of which have been advertised in the windows. Residents of the Tea Factory have always been welcome at all Tea Leaf events, but they can't be individaully invited(unless you leave your email address!)

Show your support now and go and look at the interesting installation there at the moment.

Moira said...

I'd also like to add that Tea Leaf Arts has been involved in the Brockley Max festival for the last two years by holding events, promoting the festival and as a partner organisation in funding applications. If the gallery goes, it is also one less venue for events to be held, a concern we have each year when trying to spread the festival to all reaches of the wards.

max said...

I have a practical suggestion.
Have you (Tea Leaf Arts) considered that besides the art esposition activity you could be also selling art materials, because, as far as I can make, there isn't one specialist art materials shop left for a wide area around.
When I need to buy my tools I have to go all the way to Cass Art in Angel.
Once I was able to buy my stuff in Catford, then once that closed in Lee High Road, now there's nothing left.
Maybe even approaching an established dealer like Cass Art and see if they would consider a point of sale in Brockley could be worth a try.

Monkeyboy said...

@max, considering we have an important art college up the road I'm amazed there isn't a specialist retailer around. In fact I'm always surprised that there isn't more evidence of the college on our high streets.

max said...

I think that the College has its own shop inside actually, but the rest of the artistic community doesn't.
Plus you could consider a few stops on the ELL as catchement area, I'm pretty sure that Forest Hill artists are also not exactly spoilt for choice as to where to do their shopping.

Anonymous said...

Atlantis is the biggest retailer nearby, just off Brick Lane. Otherwise even near, the Arch Gallery sells an impressively wide range of art materials, Resolution Way off Deptford High St. Then there's the shop a couple of doors down from the Junk Shop opposite Greenwich Station. And so on...

max said...

Gosh I didn't know about the Arch Gallery, I must go and have a look asap, and they seems to do exactly what I was suggesting, a gallery with a shop.
I know about the shop in Greenwich, I meant to visit it many times but for some reason when I go shopping I never think of it.
Atlantis is just as near/far as Cass Art, the London Graphic Centre of Cornelissen (the shops I've used at one point or another), the point I was making was about a shop that's reasonably local.

Katy B said...

FANTASTIC to see a group of people getting on and doing something rather than sitting about and thinking about it / complaining / wondering what if. Thank you to all involved for making the area more interesting, went to the Babble event recently -excellent stuff!

Noticed on the website there's clear info about what to do if you want to get involved -so for all those whining / criticising -put your money where your mouth is.. !

Anonymous said...

Tea Leaf Arts is no more. Has anyone noticed?

Westsider said...

It's moving somewhere else isn't it? Or did that fall through?

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