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IN THE ART OF THE CITY

18-02-2010

High rents and globalisation make life increasingly difficult for independent traders. Full credit, then, to the Pavilions in Birmingham city centre for giving local creative talent a helping hand while at the same time filling empty shop space.

It’s always good to see something that’s a bit different from the usual run of chain stores.

That’s why this latest venture is to be applauded.

Locally hand-made contemporary arts and designer crafts will be available in the heart of Birmingham’s city centre over the Easter holiday in a unique pop up shop.

Last December saw this concept giving new and emerging jewellery designers a high profile city centre outlet; the idea will now be extended to the Pavilions shopping centre from 2nd-7th April, featuring work from around 25 local artists and designers.

Alongside established retailers in the centre, shoppers will be able to buy gifts, jewellery, art and homewares directly from the designers. Organiser Jamie Lewis, a contemporary feltmaker from Selly Park specialising in fashion and home accessories, will be offering his own range of items for sale, including clutch bags, satchels and trilby hats, many made with locally sourced wool from Worcestershire.

Jamie says of the shop, “Local designers have been specially selected for their ability to produce stylish and contemporary art products that will appeal to a wide range of customers.  I see the Pop Up shop as a cross between an arts fair and a gallery, which demonstrates that art and handmade designer crafts can be high quality yet affordable and appeal to people who perhaps wouldn’t visit a gallery, thinking it’s out of their price bracket.”

Other artists scheduled to showcase their work are Jan Bowman, architect turned painter, illustrator and author of the recent children’s book This is Birmingham, Dudley based glassmaker Ian MacDonald;   jeweller Ettore Consorte (Smethwick) digital illustrator Jane Anderson (Bearwood) and Nisha Grover  who produces various different artworks such as acrylic painting, textiles and murals.

The shop will also act as a gallery space, showcasing a wide selection of art from Midlands artists. Among the work on display and for sale will be the acrylics, oils and silkscreens of Emma Hardicker, who will also be compiling collections from eight fellow members of Birmingham Printmakers including Harborne based Anne Crews, Tim Southall and Phil Wilkinson.

As Sarah Jenkinson, marketing manager at Pavilions, says, “We believe we can remain distinctive by our ability to support and showcase the city’s vibrant arts scene.  In times of recession and with the competition from online shopping, it’s vital that city centre retailers ring the changes and provide shoppers with more than just ‘shopping’.”

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