17 January 2013
Birmingham's heritage bank building to open its doors to arts festival
Internal shot of the bank's original safety deposit box room © BCL Archive
One of Birmingham's most historic landmark buildings is set to open its doors to the public for the first time in ten years when it plays host to a captivating four-day contemporary arts exposition.
From 13 - 17 March 2013 the former Grade II listed Municipal Bank on Broad Street will showcase a creative programme of drawings, images, sound and light, video and music from local, national and international artists.
The Municipal Bank was established in the aftermath of the First World War as a savings bank for the citizens of Birmingham. This grandiose building was opened on November 27 1933 by Prince George. It closed its doors in 2001.
The title of the exhibition is Thrift Radiates Happiness. The line has been taken from an inscription found carved across a main beam within the building. All the art projects featured will appropriately focus on finance and investment.
The showcase event is the result of an arts and business collaboration between Birmingham based gallery TROVE, the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), the Birmingham Architectural Association (BAA), Birmingham City Council and global architect practice Aedas.
Entrance to the exhibition will be free thanks to funding awarded by The Arts Council, RIBA and Aedas.
Alongside the art exhibition there will be an extensive educational programme provided by the BAA and RIBA, including a public debate, heritage tours and a student design competition.
Marcus Wilkins, studio director at Aedas, said: “Birmingham has a vibrant architectural community, a remarkable collection of heritage buildings and a thriving arts scene. These ingredients have been combined to deliver what promises to be a truly unique exhibition of art.
'The value of business and art working together has long been recognised by those working in both sectors. It strengthens creativity, innovation and collaboration, something that Birmingham is reputed for. Aedas is delighted to be part of it.'
Plans for the exhibition, that will open during the day and evening are well underway. National and international artists already signed up include Elly Clarke, Tom Crawford, Caitlin Griffiths, Ellie Harrison and Nicole Wilson.
Charlie Levine, director and curator of the TROVE Gallery, added: “We are assembling an amazing collection of artists for everybody of all ages to enjoy. There will be areas where visitors will listen, watch, study and participate as well as enjoy the full gravitas of the building itself. Visitors will discover how art and architecture make a positive difference to our lives and experience first-hand the art of investment.
'A key feature of the exhibition is an auction that will take place in the safety deposit box room. Visitors will be invited to invest £2 to receive a random number for a safety deposit box that will contain a limited edition art print.'
Gavin Orton, regional chair of RIBA West Midlands, added: 'This rich new cultural collaboration will deliver something truly spectacular for Birmingham. It is a perfect example of Birmingham organisations working together to create a pioneering cultural partnership that will deliver a new chapter of arts activity for the city.
We are delighted that the Council has allowed us to use this great building to promote arts and architecture in this way. It is a demonstration on how important local buildings can be creatively re-used and re-imagined. The exhibition theme of investment and finance is also highly fitting in a building that has stood the test of at least four major recessions in the last 100 years.
We hope that this is the first of many exhibitions that this new partnership will deliver for Birmingham and the West Midlands.'
Pictured: An internal shot of the bank’s original safety deposit box room
For further information visit www.thriftradiateshappiness.com or call:
Jennifer Chatham, Chatham Communications (+44) 7775 912818
Kate Eagle, Aedas
Kate.firstname.lastname@example.org / 07805 086503
Carina Schneider, RIBA
Carina.Schneider@riba.org / 0121 233 2321