#GivingTuesday and why giving support to artists is key.

Dec 1, 2015

London is full of artist success stories. But for every artist who does get to the point of performance or exhibition, there are many who are sadly forced to abandon their big idea.

As an arts charity, it’s an honour to be able to support emerging artists by giving them something that can be scarce in London – space. We hope that by giving artists a space where they can grow their work and a stage on which to perform it, we also give them the confidence to keep going with their creative projects. 

Working with funding bodies such as Arts Council England and the Esmee Fairbairn Foundation to support artists’ development, we have been able to help a huge number of artists realise their aspirations. We are also supported by the generous donations of individuals, and the income from ticket sales which goes directly back into the arts programme. In the last year we gave away 4,521 hours of free rehearsal space, supporting over 140 emerging artists. 

We're also proud to give Londoners the chance to see work from all over the world, often for free. More than 35,000 people enjoyed free arts and culture events at Rich Mix in 2014/15. Our Youth Takeover in August saw young people taking over the building for free workshops, gigs, theatre shows, and masterclasses. It was fantastic to work with young artists and help them to turn ideas into reality. There’s no shortage of talent – so it’s the responsibility of organisations such as ours to ensure that upcoming artists are given the opportunities to grow. 

Having faced a period of uncertainty where the future of Rich Mix was being debated, we have certainly had cause to think on what kind of gap would be left in our absence. That’s a lot of works of theatre, dance, spoken word, or visual art that London audiences might otherwise not have been able to see. That’s a lot of opportunities to expand our minds, see the world from different perspectives, and connect with other people that we might have otherwise missed. That’s a lot of success stories which might never have been told. 

#GivingTuesday gives us a good reason to talk about why arts funding and artist development programmes remain essential – and to consider all that artists give us in return.

Image: writer and performer Alice Malseed in Jellyfish, which was part of our 2015 season of new works.