Putting the Created In Birmingham shop in the Bullring in the centre of Birmingham means that we’re proud of our art.
A bug bear I have about Birmingham is creativity occurs on the fringes of the city, and often this can make us appear self deprecating. It’s almost as if were embarrassed by our artists so we push them to the outskirts. Don’t get me wrong, I’m behind the redefined Eastside. In fact I wrote the brochure’s main copy. But where I struggled was working out how to make art accessible and appealing in description, without appearing to trivialise or belittle ‘the art.’ A picture paints a thousand words, I just wanted people to visit Eastside and make up their own minds. Hopefully, many will this weekend.
The great thing about CiB shop’s centrality is that people can check it out, with very little effort. If this shop was based in Digbeth, for example, they wouldn’t have a fraction of the footfall. Take a look at this large and diverse mix of people in this 30 minute sample (recorded by me at 11am on a Thursday).
Okay, Pete Ashton in particular acknowledges it’s “in a shopping centre” so there are a few pieces that might be too leftfield for this consumer-centric audience. But its strong centre-stage presence is great exposure for all artists adorning the walls and shelves. And intrinsically Created In Birmingham features independent artists creating original pieces.
Besides wouldn’t it be great if when the City Of Culture judges get off the train and the first place they pop into is this shop?