Rounding off the Arts Week was a Question Time event that put the arts at the centre of Croydon Council’s regeneration initiative.
Since embarking on its project to regenerate Thornton Heath, the council has assisted with a wide array of physical improvements to the area.
Organised by Michael Balamwezi and John Lawlor, the discussion at the Salvation Army focussed on the cultural and artistic needs of Thornton Heath.
Question master Paul Macey oversaw a discussion with panellists Cllr Jamie Audsley, Regeneration Officer Richard Green, Editor of the Thornton Heath Chronicle Andrea Perry as well as poets and performers Shaniqua Benjamin and Anjali Barot. Members of the audience raised issues around needing support and funding for the arts, echoed by many of the panellists.
A plethora of suggestions were raised by the audience with the need identified for an arts hub that can provide a space for local artists to perform, gain support and collaborate on projects..
Founder of the PondLife Readers’ Group, Michael Balamwezi, which meets regularly at Thornton Heath Library, said: “The event created an opportunity for the local arts community: artists, musicians, singers, rappers, actors, writers, poets, photographers and other creatively minded people, to participate in a discussion about the role of the arts and culture in the social and economic life of the community.”
Event organisers will arrange a follow-up workshop in September.
The Arts Week closed with a fun afternoon of arts and crafts in Grangewood Park with Karen Barnett.
Young and old were invited to make willow structures and processional pieces for the upcoming Thornton Heath Festival Carnival Procession.