It’s lockdown 2.0, which means Birmingham’s museums, galleries and theatres have been forced to close their doors to us once again. But, looking on the bright side, many of their shops remain open online. These venues need our support more than ever, and we can help them out by spending money in their virtual stores, which are filled with unique presents. It’s a win win situation. And the shop’s the best bit anyway, right? With the Christmas countdown on, I’ve put together this seasonal guide, featuring wearable art, Birmingham themed gifts, prints, posters and more – all available from the city’s cultural venues.
Artist-designed Slade t-shirt from Ikon – £25
Ikon’s online shop is filled with art books, craft sets, limited edition prints and posters from past exhibitions in the gallery. It also has a selection of wearable art. This limited-edition T-shirt was designed by Jeremy Deller and based on a photograph that Deller had as a child, which shows him wearing a signed Slade t-shirt. Choose from classic black or a more Christmassy red to suit your glam rock look. Merry Xmas Everybody.
Yes Bab T-Shirt from Ikon – £18 to £25
Can you even call yourself a proud Brummie if you’re not telling the world from the front of your t-shirt? Ikon are selling iconic ‘Yes Bab’ organic cotton t-shirts, beautifully made by Punks and Chancers, an ethical company who are local to Birmingham. Their designs are perfect for dressing both the big and little babs in your life, as they come in adult and children’s sizes. Brave enough to wear a t-shirt this winter? YES BAB. Hell Yes.
Aubrey Beardsley makeup bag from the Barber – £14
Bring the Barber’s art collection into your home this Christmas, with masterpieces printed on mugs, makeup bags, tea towels, coasters and more. This beauty of a bag features Aubrey Beardsley’s drawing, ‘The Battle of the Beaux and the Belles’. It illustrates a scene from Alexander Pope’s ‘The Rape of the Lock’, in which the heroine Belinda attacks the Baron with her fan after discovering he has cut and stolen a lock of her hair. Scandalous.
Name a Seat at the REP – £250
This is a very special gift for any theatre lover in your life. The REP is one of the most important theatres in the UK, and this is your chance to dedicate a seat in our renowned Main HOUSE. Your seat will feature a personal plaque containing a message of your choice.
Young REP Bursary – £75 or £200
Give the gift of theatre to a young person this year. This unique present will offer a disadvantaged young person, aged 7-25, the opportunity to take part in The REP’s acclaimed youth theatre, the Young REP. Do you know someone who would love to help nurture the next generation of theatre stars? Young REP gives participants the chance to develop acting skills and grow in confidence and creativity. A donation of £75 would pay for a term and £200 would fund an entire year.
Art prints from Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery – from £20
Hang a masterpiece in your home, with Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery’s art print service. There are over 300 artworks to choose from, featuring your favourite Pre-Raphaelite paintings, Birmingham-themed cityscapes, portraits and 19th century landscapes. Select your size, material – paper or canvas – and frame. Perfect while the museum remains closed.
‘Benny’s Babbies’ Poster from Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery – £15
What better way to celebrate Brum than by hanging a ‘Benny’s Babbies’ poster in your home? The original collage was created by satirical artist Cold War Steve. It’s his most complex creation yet, featuring an eclectic mix of Brummie icons including Joe Lycett, Duran Duran and Black Sabbath, rocking out on top of the Rotunda. The A2 poster is printed with a white border that frames the design. All profits go to Birmingham Museums Trust and there are some signed copies for the lucky few.
Walk Birmingham Book from Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery- £9.99
Is it even Boxing Day without the annual family walk around the block? This year, it might be time to make that walk a tad more cultured. This brilliant book, from Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, contains 20 fantastic routes around Birmingham. It will take you on a journey through time, seeing evidence of Brum’s long and fascinating history. The walks explore areas all over the city from Sutton Coldfield to Longbridge and Harborne to Sheldon. Perfect for walking off too many roast potatoes. Hip flask optional/essential/delete as appropriate.
Brum and Black Country themed art from SUPA – from £40
Why not support local artists and bring new art into your home this Christmas? Birmingham’s online-only art gallery, SUPA, sells original art and limited edition prints by exciting artists from the city. Day Barry’s vibrant paintings bring together a range of Brummie influences, from music to fabrics found in Ladypool Road and the markets. The gallery also has enchanting tree paintings by Monica Perez Vega, planet prints by Suzie Hunt and photographs which make the Black Country beautiful by Tom Hicks, aka Black Country Type.
Christmas Art Cards at RBSA Gallery – £14
Choose Christmas cards designed by local artists at the RBSA Gallery. Vivienne Cawson’s watercolour illustrations feature Santa in a face mask and festive penguins, harking back to the best John Lewis ad of all time. Sets of 9 cards come with red festive envelopes. Over the coming weeks, the RBSA gallery will be adding more stock including jewellery, art books, ceramics and craft by Birmingham’s talented creatives.
Birmingham Museums has also created The Virtual Birmingham Christmas Gifts Market! This online event takes place from 1st November to 13th December and supports local businesses from across Birmingham.
Happy shopping and have yourself a very cultured Christmas!