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Birmingham Big Art project gets £80,000 contribution from Arts Council England

This latest contribution means the funding pot for the project has now passed the £100,000 mark

Anita Champaneri, Mike Ward, Gavin Wade and Glyn Pitchford celebrate Gateley's £20,000 donation to the Birmingham Big Art Project

The Birmingham Big Art Project has secured an £80,000 contribution from Arts Council England to help create an iconic piece of artwork for the city.

This latest contribution means the funding pot for the project has now passed the £100,000 mark.

The Birmingham Big Art Project (BBAP), which was established by Birmingham Civic Society to mark its centenary celebrations, is aiming to raise £2 million to create a lasting piece of permanent public art for the city.

The artwork will be erected on a parcel of land next to the main entrance to Eastside City Park and near the new HS2 Curzon Street station.

Funding from Arts Council England comes two weeks after the Chung Ying Moon Walk in Chinatown, which raised £3,700 and earlier in the summer Birmingham-based law firm Gateley donated £20,000 towards the project.

Gateley’s donation was its first CSR initiative since the firm floated on the Stock Exchange in June.

Glyn Pitchford, chairman of BBAP said, “This is wonderful news for us. The money covers our costs through to the end of 2016, such as artists’ and commissioning agent fees, marketing tools and design and production of maquettes.

“It’s a relief that the project is on target but the hard work continues, with heavy expenditure coming our way including the winning artist’s fees and installation costs. The fundraising must continue in a way that all the communities around the city can get involved with.”

Digbeth-based Eastside Projects has selected a panel of international art experts who will guide the BBAP steering group.

Commissioning agent, Gavin Wade of Eastside Projects said, “With a budget to work with, now we can move forward with our community engagement plans and progress efforts collaborating with local schools and local artists.

“With our partnerships with Birmingham City University and Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, BBAP is perfectly placed as a creative catalyst. This funding garners hope for the project and edges it that much closer to reality.

“The tradition of art is not to do what has been done before. This is a challenging competition, where the artists must truly represent the diverse metropolis that is Birmingham, through art. We eagerly anticipate their creations.”

The BBAP selection panel includes Michaela Crimmin, co-director of Culture + Conflict and previously head of arts at the RSA, Lisa Le Feuvre, head of sculpture studies at the Henry Moore Institute in Leeds, Sally Shaw, head of programmes at Modern Art Oxford, Toby Watley, director of collections, Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery and Beverley Nielsen, director corporate affairs, Birmingham City University & BBAP steering group.

The panel will put their recommendations to the BBAP steering group which will decide the winning entry in four stages over the next two years.

A shortlist of five artists, recommended by the selection panel, will be considered by the steering group and made public in January 2016.

Artists’ maquettes will then be exhibited publicly for Birmingham residents to have their say on the proposed new artwork.

This stage will inform the final recommendation made by the selection panel in January 2017.

The BBAP steering group has two further high-profile fundraising events taking place this month.

The first is a lunch with John Lewis managing director Andy Street at Hotel du Vin on October 23.

A second fundraising lunch with comedian Jasper Carrott takes place at the Hyatt Regency Hotel on October 27.

For information on tickets visit www.birminghambigartproject.org.uk.

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