Photo: Artwork in progress by MrASingh at Creative Heights launch, Rotunda. Image credit: Nati Creates. 

For this guest post, we welcome the lovely Nati to the blog. She has put together ‘The Ultimate Affordable Guide to Arts in the West Midlands’ and it is super useful for both artists and art lovers. 

Meet Nati

Hi there! My name is Nati and you can find my blog at www.naticreates.com. Like Ruth, I’m an advocate of the arts and culture industries – I am an arts student, after all – living in Birmingham. I recently met with Ruth for a coffee at the gorgeous York’s Cafe and, with all that we have in common, we thought it would be lovely to exchange arts-related posts on our blogs!

Ruth put together a list of the best arty places to eat and drink across the West Midlands, which you can find published on my blog, whilst for my guest post I’ve created a guide on how to enjoy the West Midlands’ arts scene without breaking the bank.

An exhibition opening at Medicine Gallery on New street.

Accessibility in the arts has always been absent. Whether it’s a £15,000+ postgraduate course at an arts institution or a £250 ticket to the theatre, it’s no surprise (or secret) that the arts are often seen as elitist.

This breaks my heart.

As someone whose mental health was saved by the arts, I will always stand up for the life-changing impact that the industry can have on everyone. I don’t want a single person to miss out on the opportunity to take part in/contribute to/gain from the arts, and I am determined to share as many opportunities as I can find for everyone to get involved; opportunities that don’t result in sleepless nights over your bank balance because you were told a show was *just* *so* *good* (oh how I’ve been there).

Ikon Gallery has great contemporary art exhibitions, all free to the public.

Thankfully, there are various organisations, scheme, deals and programmes that are providing a platform for access to the arts where there would not have been one otherwise. Whether you’re an artist or an arts-lover; whether you have a passion for poetry or you’re at your happiest wandering through an art gallery; here is a list of places where you can get the most out of the arts industry in the West Midlands!

Who doesn’t love a great art gift?

FOR ARTISTS

Fail Better Brum birmingham-failbetter.com/

  • an artist-led space for experimentation

BOM Lab www.bom.org.uk/about-bom/

  • investing in a community of creative practitioners

  • proactively addressing barriers to cultural participation

MAIA Group www.maiagroup.co/about/

  • running artist-led interventions exploring art in society

  • supporting sustainable creativity in cities

MAC Birmingham macbirmingham.co.uk/projects/artists

  • running a range of projects to support local artists, facilitating and promoting their work

Eastside Projects eastsideprojects.org/about/

  • an artist-run space that makes art public

  • a free public gallery

STEAMHouse www.steamhouse.org.uk/

  • free workshops and events for inventors, entrepreneurs and craftspeople

Brum Town Collective about.me/brmtwn

  • bringing together artists

  • networking, opportunities and a creative platform

VIVID Projects www.vividprojects.org.uk/

  • a collaborative space where art and media meet

  • built on risk, innovation and experimentation

the gap www.thegapartsproject.co.uk/

  • creating a space for young people to navigate the world through creative action

Take It Away www.takeitaway.org.uk/

  • interest-free loans for musical instruments

Creatives (In) Space www.creativesinspace.com/

  • an online gallery promoting and sharing the world of young, black British, male creatives

The Doc Society docsociety.org/

  • supporting and promoting the work of independent documentary and film makers

Make Shift Space makeshiftspace.org/

  • a portable artist structure

  • hosting residencies, workshops and events

CoLab Dudley www.colabdudley.net/

  • a space for Dudley-based creatives to create, learn and share

Open Art Night twitter.com/_OpenArtNight

  • a regular, inclusive open mic night for every creative medium

  • art, music, design, poetry, fashion, photography, performance dance, acting – everything

Stryx Arts www.stryx.co.uk/

  • an artist-led studio and exhibition space

BEATFREEKS www.beatfreeks.com/

  • a collective of people and companies finding new ways to use creativity to create social change

The Festival of Audacity Tour www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/festival-of-audacity-the-tour-tickets-47916520603 (27 – 29 SEPT)

  • a multidisciplinary festival for activist art

airspace gallery www.airspacegallery.org/

  • a collaborative, artist-led project in Stoke-on-Trent

  • providing professional development opportunities, studios, exhibiting space and support for artists

Ikon artists on show at Medicine Gallery. Image by Nati.
FOR ART-LOVERS
  • an artist-led, community focused arts space

  • working to engage the public with the arts through a range of events

Medicine Bakery + Gallery www.medicinebakery.co.uk/

  • a bakery cafe with a stunning gallery space

  • hosting a range of local art projects and exhibitions

The National Art Pass www.artfund.org/national-art-pass

  • free entry to over 240 museums and half price entry to major exhibitions across the UK

The Birmingham Repertory Theatre’s Preview Club Membership www.birmingham-rep.co.uk/about-us/discounts-and-concessions.html

  • a free membership scheme for 16 – 30 year olds

  • £5 tickets for the preview nights of selected performances at The REP

The IKON Gallery

  • free entry!

The Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery

  • free entry!

Own Art www.ownart.org.uk/

  • interest-free loans to make buying art easy and affordable

Kiondo kiondo.co.uk/

  • using creativity to build and empower local communities

Room Art twitter.com/roomart10

  • two rooms in a Birmingham home used as public art gallery spaces

MAC Birmingham macbirmingham.co.uk/visit/buying-tickets

  • offering a range of concession tickets and ticket deals!

Centrala Space centrala-space.org.uk/

  • a multi-functional arts space run by the Polish Expats Association

  • the Polish Expats Association is a non-profit organisation exhibiting art from Central and Eastern Europe across the UK

  • holding exhibitions and running a lovely little cafe

I hope you find this post helpful and I’d love to know if you’re involved with any of them or get involved after reading this!

Nati x |

Photos: www.naticreates.com

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