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Modern yesterday, today and tomorrow

We are a pioneering centre for the arts. A place where everyone can experience contemporary exhibitions, events and entertainment in an iconic Modernist building. By the sea, on England’s south coast.

How we started

Conceived as a democratic space for art, culture and recreation, and as a hub for the wider community, the building’s design is unique, purposeful and progressive, embracing the international style while remaining quintessentially British.

Named after the 9th Earl De La Warr, who was the driving force in its creation, the Pavilion was designed by Erich Mendelsohn and Serge Chermayeff and opened in 1935. Today it continues to be home to an ever-changing programme of established and emerging artists.

What we do

We are a vibrant, versatile space in which we aim to cultivate talent, inspire creativity and provide opportunities for interactions between artists and audiences. We provide integrated cultural programmes that are accessible and relevant to the world in which we live.

We encourage exploration, collaboration and innovation by providing a venue where artists from different disciplines and audiences can meet, engage and share their thinking and ideas. Offering free access to exhibitions all year round, plus live performances, a dynamic learning and participation programme, indoor and outdoor events, and bespoke venue hire, we aim to live up to the name given to us by our audiences when we first opened – the People’s Pavilion.

What we believe

We believe that by putting artists and audiences at the heart of what we do, we can produce innovative and integrated cultural programmes that are accessible and relevant to today. We aim to create opportunities, drive aspirations and reflect the thinking and ideas of the world in which we live.

Our objectives
  • To produce, present and promote a high-quality programme of modern and contemporary work that responds to the needs and aspirations of both artists and our audiences
  • Enable artists of every culture and discipline to create new work or present new experience to exciting work within an environment committed to excellence and best professional practice.
  • Work with audiences to engage them with the Pavilion and our artistic programme, making it relevant to them as a visitor or participant
  • Conserve the Pavilion’s fabric, its unique Grade I listed architectural status and to promote it through public and artistic programmes
  • Maintain a viable resilience and sustainable business model, seeking to diversify income streams by growing fundraising and commercial activity.
  • Be a catalyst for the cultural, economic, tourism and social regeneration of Bexhill and the surrounding region.
Audiences

In 2016:

  • We welcome  410,000 visitors to the building.
  • We sold 45,000 tickets to music, comedy, live broadcast and community hires in the auditorium.
  • Over 6,000 people took part in our Learning & Participation programmes.
Charitable Trust & Funders

The De La Warr Pavilion became a Charitable Trust in 2002. Charity Number: 1065586.

As a National Portfolio Organisation  we receive £508,430 per annum for 2015–18 from Arts Council England. In addition in 2015 ACE  gave an extra £412,343 capital grant to improve the environmental facilities in the auditorium of our Grade One listed building. Read more about why culture matters on the Arts Council England website. 

In July 2017 Arts Council England again awarded us National Portfolio status with a grant of  £2,033,720 over four years 2018 – 22.
Read about this award here

In 2013, Rother District Council confirmed its commitment to the Pavilion by granting core funding of £490,000 per year from April 2014 to March 2021. In addition, a yearly £47,355 grant was made for building maintenance – an important contribution to maintaining the Grade 1 listed building. Community groups are able to apply for a share of a £12,000 pot to help them make use of the facilities at the popular venue.

A list of other funders and supporters can be found in the Support us section.

Support us

Awards
  • RIBA Award South East 2008
    Royal Institute of British Architects Award
  • BURA Award 2008
    The British Urban Regeneration Association (BURA) Award for Best Practice in Regeneration.
  • RIBA Award  South East 2002
    for De La Warr Pavilion bandstand
    Architects : Niall McLaughlin
  • Wood Award 2003
    Highly commended
    For De La Warr Pavilion bandstand
  • Sussex Business Award 2006/7
  • Arts and Business South East Award 2007
    Mark Moorton, HR director of AXA-PPP Healthcare, won the Arts & Business Individual of the Year Award sponsored by Danebury Vineyards for his work on the board of the De La Warr Pavilion. It was presented in recognition  of outstanding individual achievement to positively benefit an arts organisation.
  • Coast Award 2009 & 2011
    Best Seaside Landmark Building
  • Coast Award 2011
  • The Campaign for Drawing
    Trailblazer Award for Big Draw 2011
  • 1066 Business Award 2013
  • Trip Advisor
    Certificate of Excellence 2015
  • Muddy Stilleto Award
    Best Art Gallery 2016