NEWS: Erdington open art gallery on Gravelly Hill North – a call out for local creatives

A group of local artists are calling out for Erdington creatives to get involved in a new ‘open art gallery’, which will take over the forgotten fencing at the top of Gravelly Hill North – opposite the petrol station by Six Ways Island.

Wanting to bring bright inspiration to some of Erdington’s neglected spaces, the art collective hope to hang a series of original pieces along the hoarding – creating an outdoor exhibition for everyone to enjoy.

Still at the ideas stage, and working on themes around the four seasons, project coordinators are inviting any local creatives to come to the Secret Art Studio Space (SASS) and get involved.

The group will be meeting at SASS, downstairs at the Central Square Shopping Centre on Erdington High Street, from 7pm to 9:30pm on Wednesday, 6 April.

Everyone is welcome – regardless of age stage, or art experience – and refreshments will be provided.

The group have been running series of ‘artist conversations’ at SASS, meeting on weekly basis with anyone who has a passion and interest in art.

The Gravelly Hill North ‘open art gallery’ is another chance for likeminded creatives to come together and bring a glorious splash of colour to Erdington’s streets and public spaces.

One of the local artists behind the project, Rob Gunnell, told Erdington Local:

“A few months ago, a group of artists in our area (myself, Angie, Jin, and Kaz) got together to identify any residents who have a flair/interest in the visual arts – to give Erdington a lift in terms of colour, vision, and in communicating something about the characteristics and heart of where we live.

“Calling the initiative ‘artists conversations’, we have now met several times and what is emerging are ideas around how we can support existing art projects and at some point organise exhibitions using shop fronts in Erdington, and in the longer term having an ‘art trail’.

“There is now an exciting opportunity for those of you who are creative (note you don’t need to be artists) to get involved in painting a large fence on Gravelly Hill North which lends itself to the concept of an ‘open gallery’.

“Based on the four seasons, we would like this space in the first place to reflect the beauty of the changing landscapes, and to promote opportunities for people to share how they feel about living in Erdington.”

For more information please email robert.gunnell55@gmail.com

NEWS: Lights, Camera, Action: Erdington Arts Forum bring ‘BBC broadcast quality production’ to their Evening of Creativity events

Words by Jobe Baker-Sullivan / Pics by Ed King

The Evening of Creativity (EoC) is a fixture in Erdington’s cultural diary that brings artists from many different backgrounds to the fore, all in the name of encouraging local talent.

The event, organised by the Erdington Arts Forum, moved exclusively online during lockdown – with thousands of regular viewers tuning in each month.

One silver-lining about the shift was that the production quality of the filmed EoC events increased drastically, thanks to the input of technician Paul Withers.

Regular live streaming has further encouraged a new audience for EoC events, bringing even more positive attention to Erdington’s lively art scene.

On the 17th July, at 7:30pm, the Evening of Creativity will be broadcast from the Erdington Arts Forum Facebook page – to watch the event’s live stream, visit: www.facebook.com/ErdingtonArts

Acts will include live music performances from Tarju Le’Sano and Chris Tye, as presented by Birmingham Review, as well as music from EoC regular Ilias Lintzos. There will also be spoken word by Sami Saunders, artwork by Angela Chapman and Rob Gunnell, and animation from Andy Spencer.

Paul Withers has an impressive pedigree of working in television as a camera operator, sound recordist, editor, and broadcast engineer. His credits include BBC, ITV, Channel Four, Sky Sports, and the History Channel to name but a few: ”I love helping great ideas come to life. I’ve worked in theatre, television, radio, and corporate communications for all of my working life – in the UK, Europe, Africa and Australia.”

Paul joined the collective at SASS (Secret Arts Space Studios) earlier this year, using the Erdington based creative hub as his Midlands base of operations. However, his association with the area goes back further: “I have a strong affinity with Erdington, working on films and plays based around the prestigious Rookery House back in the early noughties. To work with the Erdington Arts Forum is a great joy.”

Paul was first involved with the Evening of Creativity by editing the April show, initially consisting of pre-recorded content including music, art, poetry, and interviews. At many regular gig nights around the country, musicians and artists have had to ‘make do’ with live streaming to social media via mobile phones as a way of keeping their content relevant during COVID-19’s lockdown.

The first ‘live’ broadcast EoC show was held at the Oikos Café in June, in the midst of the coronavirus lockdown – using the venue’s in house production unit to film live, alongside broadcasting pre-recorded material.

I’ve been incredibly impressed with the high standards of programming at the Evening of Creativity,” comments James Kennedy, a regular EoC viewer and co-ordinator for Selly Oak Arts Forum. “It brings a diverse range of communities together in a celebration of arts, music and performance.”

Paul now commands an impressive, portable broadcast unit consisting three professional cameras, monitors, vision mixers, and sound engineering equipment – allowing the Erdington Arts Forum to regularly add BBC broadcast quality production to their EoC events.

From selfie-mode using a Samsung to a multi-camera, high quality production studio – Paul has added significant value to the Evening of Creativity events,” says Jobe Sullivan, coordinator of the Erdington Arts Forum. “He brings everything you need, and, spares – allowing us to give the musicians and artists involved a fully professional showreel. It’s been a huge step forward for the events.”

To find out more about and Erdington Arts Forum and their regular Evening of Creativity events, and to watch this month’s event at 7:30pm on Friday 1tth June, visit www.facebook.com/CAFEartsforum