Sipping prosecco and pimms, indulging on fluffy iced cupcakes, and posing for photographs whilst standing in a room of admirable art isn’t my usual Thursday evening, but I could certainly get used to it. The launch party of Art in the Heart kicked off last week in Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, and I enjoyed it that much that I am now inspired to see all of their exhibitions that will be on display this summer.
Art in the Heart is celebrating the region’s world class art collections, across 23 leading West Midlands cultural attractions. In Birmingham venues include the IKON, the planetarium at Thinktank and RBSA Gallery in St Paul’s Square. The Discovery Season Festival at the Library of Birmingham is also part of Art in the Heart, along with Reference Works, a photography exhibition in the new library’s gallery. Other exhibitions have work on display by famous artists such as Rembrandt and Damien Hirst, and my personal favourite; Quentin Blake. You have to have a high regard for the man who brought the BFG to life.
The launch party opened with George Catlin’s American Indian portraits, on display at Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery until the 13th October. Catlin was a 19th Century American artist who followed Native American tribes and painted their portraits. The most interesting thing for me was that he wasn’t just an incredible artist, but he was also a writer and a performer. He even visited the UK with his portraits to tell his tale, touring the country and performing dances and re-enactments to support his art work.
George Catlin, Indian Portraits
For the 1800s, he was a well travelled man, and from the things to read in the art gallery, also that of a socialite: He spent a lot of time around Birmingham, visiting the newly restored Shakespeare Memorial room, housed in the new Library of Birmingham, meeting with Mr Cadbury, a stop at the then button factory at Snowhill, and he even partied with a local novelist in her home on Bennett’s Hill. Quite the lifestyle really, almost as glamorous as me attending an arts launch party.
Do try to check at least one of the exhibitions out, if Indian portraits aren’t for you, then there most definitely will still be something to intrigue on the impressive list of what’s on. Aside from Quentin Blake, I shall be gracing my presence at the Stratford upon Avon Poetry Festival based at Shakespeare Birthplace Trust.
To find out more information on the many events and exciting exhibits, go to: