Shock closure of Drum arts centre
Birmingham’s black and Asian arts centre in financial trouble, The Drum, is to close after more than 20 years.
The Newtown Cultural Project, which runs the centre says that it is no longer viable and has started winding up proceedings. It is understood that the centre was experiencing financial problems, despite Arts Council and city council funding.
The popular inter-cultural centre, which opened in 1994, is recognised as the UK’s national centre for black British arts and British Asian arts. It was built on the former site of Aston’s Hippodrome, a popular music hall and entertainments venue.
The trust’s chair, Sharon Palmer said, "After months of undergoing an organisational review, staff restructures, consultations with staff and external stakeholders, alongside constant negotiations with funders, we can assure the community, staff and supporters that this decision was not taken lightly."
She said The Drum had a strong legacy "we can all be proud of".
Peter Knott, area director of Arts Council England, said ACE would continue to work with the city council to maintain investment in the area. Birmingham City Council said it would be setting up discussions with artists and community groups to work towards finding a viable solution that "genuinely meets local needs". ACE currently funds the Drum as a National Portfolio Organisation at £592,961 per year.