Crowdfunder saves popular gallery from closure

Liz Whitehead, director of Fabrica
Liz Whitehead, director of Fabrica

Hundreds of people helped to raise more than £21,000 to keep an arts charity in Brighton going.

Fabrica, an arts gallery in an old church in The Lanes, was under threat of closure after funding cuts.

Resonance by Ben Harding at Fabrica Brighton

Resonance by Ben Harding at Fabrica Brighton

But in just 28 days, a crowdfunding appeal to plug the funding gap attracted 424 backers, who picked up rewards including original artwork donated by artists Fabrica has presented over the last 22 years.

The charity said many also donated money without selecting a reward, and an additional £10,000 was raised through a sponsored writing and drawing event in February.

High profile supporters of the campaign have included Martin Parr and Caroline Lucas.

Director Liz Whitehead, who was also one of the founders of Fabrica in 1996: “We have been completely bowled over by the response to the campaign. It’s been truly brilliant to see how much support we have in the city and beyond. Instead of thinking about which areas of the programme we might have to cut, we are now giving thought to what impact we can make with the additional money we raised!

Fabrica Art Club

Fabrica Art Club

“We feel that our campaign has raised Fabrica’s profile in the city and that people who may not have visited before will come to the gallery. I believe it has also highlighted the positive work we do with some of the city’s most vulnerable people, to reduce social isolation and improve people’s wellbeing.”

Artist Jane Fordham, who together with poet Jackie Wills organised the drawing event - named the Draw-A-Thon and Writers’ Relay event - said: “We’re so delighted with the success of the sponsored event. It’s been a fantastic way to mobilise Brighton’s artistic community in raising funds for Fabrica, which has supported local artists for many years”.

The charity said the success of the appeal means it will not have to close its doors or cut its programme.

Fabrica has said that it will direct the additional funds raised towards its exhibition programme, its artist development work and community activities such as Chomp, a free creative lunch club for families managing on a low income.

Draw to Perform, Fabrica, by Manja Williams

Draw to Perform, Fabrica, by Manja Williams

Fabrica’s next exhibition, Life Model II by Brighton Festival guest director David Shrigley, runs from April 14 until May 27.