We'd like to say a big thank you to everyone who has contributed their thoughts and ideas to our ongoing consultation about transforming the first floor of Stirchley Library into a community art space. Comments have continued to be returned via the website form and on the paper flyers handed in at the library, so we thought we'd share some more of them.
The comments we have received have continued to be incredibly positive and supportive, both in terms of there being a new community art space, and also in how it will benefit the library itself in the longer term.
The particular heritage of Stirchley Library has been mentioned, and the relevance of this is something that has also come up in the face-to-face conversations we have had with members of the community over the past few months. Stirchley Art Room at Stirchley Library seems to feel like a good fit, an appropriate and meaningful partnership, that pays tribute to a local history of community benevolence and recognises the special role the arts can play within this.
"I whole-heartedly support your dream of a community art room in Stirchley, more particularly in the first floor of the Library! Amidst all our preoccupations of daily life, and compounded by the dearth of community space and time, we desperately need to re-inspire ourselves and connect in meaningful ways. This is a fantastic way of doing it. Especially in a building that was made possible by Carnegie and Cadbury. I can think of no better way to honour and sustain their legacy."
We are excited to announce that thanks to funding from Arts Council England, we are going to be delivering a series of book arts community workshops over the next few months, in our very favourite place: Stirchley Library!
Since our very early days, Stirchley Art Room has worked closely with the library and we have always been made to feel extremely welcome by staff and FOSL volunteers. We have always been interested in the crossover between books and visual arts, and in the summer of this year we put together a funding bid to support an accessible and affordable series of workshops of events designed to explore book making, bookbinding, and lots of other associated artforms. We were thrilled when we discovered we had been successful, and in recent weeks we have been finalising our plans for this exciting project.
The project has three phases: Make a Book, Fill a Book, and Change a Book. The first phase begins on November 18th, and places can be booked using the links below.
We have planned to sessions to be as accessible to as many people as possible, with events taking place on weekdays, evenings and weekends.
The courses are free of charge to people who are not currently earning, with a nominal charge for those who are.
Make a Book Mondays: 10-2pm on November 18th, 25th, December 2nd, 9th & 16th.
Make a Book Saturdays: 10-2pm on November 30th & December 14th; 10-12pm December 7th. (A shorter version of the Monday course)
Coptic Bookbinding with artist Chloe Spicer: Artist talk 10-11.30am, and workshop 12.30-3.30pm, Saturday 23rd November.
Please share far and wide! Dates for phases 2 & 3 will be announced shortly...
On Saturday 2nd November we met up with the staff, children and families to join in with the celebrations just outside the ICC, which included a rousing speech from James Brindley himself, a procession of boats, and live music.
Well done to all the children who worked so hard, and the staff and families for their support, from Brookfields Primary School, Nelson Primary School, St Thomas CE Academy & St Johns & St Peters CE Academy.
Over the past few weeks, we have been seeking your thoughts & suggestions about our idea to transform some of the first floor of Stirchley Library into a community art room.
Sarah spoke to attendees at a recent Stirchley Forum meeting, we had a stall at the Stirchley Late Summer Bash at the end of August (seems like a long time ago!), and we have been in the library on the past two Saturdays working alongside other community events.
On Heritage Open Day we invited visitors to show some love for the library by making origami library hearts and adding thoughts about the past, present and future of the library to a copy of the rather beautiful architectural plans. Earlier today we teamed up with Lego Club to help children think about what the library of the future might look like. Amongst our favourite ideas were rooftop gardens, slides between floors and robotic arms to help select books! Very cool.
Lots of people have shared their thoughts with us - both by filling in our online form and by commenting on our consultation flyers. Happily, these responses have been overwhelmingly positive...
We are going to continue to ask people about our plans during the course of the feasibility study (in partnership with Apec Architects, funded by the National Lottery Community Fund) - please spread the word and keep letting us know what you think!
For the past couple of weeks we have been having fun down in Cotteridge Park, working with the wonderful Friends of Cotteridge Park and their Bushcraft Science Club (supported by the National Lottery Communities Fund). There are so many fascinating connections and crossovers between art and science to explore, so we were really excited to take part.
We focused on insects - learning about what they are, and what they aren't, drawing scientific illustrations, and creating our own hybrid invented insects with modelling clay and a few other bits and pieces. This week we finished off by all working together to create giant willow insects, which are currently suspended from the trees in the forest school, waiting to be discovered by visitors to the park.
We had such a great time - working outside presents a few interesting problems, especially when wet weather comes, but also so many interesting and exciting opportunities for making art. Thanks and well done to everyone who came along.
Huge thanks to Emma, Tony, Cathal, Hugh and everyone else who works so hard for Friends of Cotteridge Park.
Hello and welcome to our new website!
As well as blogging occasionally, we'll be using this website to share news about what get up to and any future projects we are planning. You can also find more information about Sarah and myself, and the ideas and ideals behind Stirchley Art Room.
I thought I'd start the blogging off with a brief history of how we got to where we are now.
Sarah and I have worked together for about 5 years, as secondary school art teachers, and previous to that we have worked in arts and education in various different roles. Through our work in school though we have had the opportunity to be involved in a lot of exciting community and public art projects, including working with Longbridge Public Art Project, Longbridge Light Festival, as well as developing our own school based public art project.
Following much discussion about our shared interests and ambitions in community arts, we decided to ‘go for it’, and in April this year made the decision to establish a community art project in Stirchley, a place we both know and love, and one with an already buzzing community and arts scene.
From our very first conversations with local tradespeople, artists and residents, we have been encouraged in our ideas and made to feel very welcome by the vibrant, friendly and creative Stirchley community.
These are exciting times for Stirchley Art Room!
Please do visit again to keep up to date with what we are doing, and feel free to use the contact page to get in touch with any queries or suggestions.
Many thanks for reading!