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Year ahead in the West Midlands' museums and art galleries

From a celebration of the Spitfire to a fusion of Andy Warhol with William Morris, there's something for all lovers of the visual arts in the year ahead. Graham Young showcases the highlights of 2015

Night with her Train of Stars by Edward Robert Hughes - part of an exhibition at Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery

Thinktank, Millennium Point, Birmingham

Spitfire Gallery, from 28 March

It's the plane which helped Britain to survive the Second World War with its sovereignty intact and a brand new Spitfire Gallery will showcase the city's manufacturing contribution to its success.

A Supermarine Spitfire Mark IX and a Hawker Hurricane Mark IV have already been suspended from the ceiling at Thinktank thanks to their special connections to the region.

Spitfires were manufactured in Castle Bromwich from 1940 to 1945 and parts for the Hurricane were made in the city.

Funded through the Heritage Lottery Fund, DCMS Wolfson and the Clive and Sylvia Richards Charity, the new gallery will be open in time for the 70th anniversary of the end of the Second World War.

It will include specially created hands-on interactive displays alongside related historic objects, all validated with stories from people involved in the industry.

Visitors will be able to explore the history of the Spitfire, the region's aviation industry and discover the science of flying.

Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery

Art From Elsewhere, February 14 to May 10, 2015 (tbc)

This touring exhibition will showcase stunning pieces of work by major international contemporary artists from five regional collections developed through the Art Fund International initiative.

Curated by David Elliott, international freelance curator and art writer, and organised by Hayward Touring, the initiative was developed by the Art Fund to enable regional museums and galleries to build collections of international contemporary art.

Love Is Enough – Andy Warhol and William Morris, April 25 to August

Love is Enough brings together Andy Warhol and William Morris for the first time to explore and reveal their similar interests, ideas and parallels between their works.

The exhibition is being curated by the artist Jeremy Deller and developed by Modern Art Oxford.

Both artists are a significant influence on his work which explores socio-political aspects of contemporary culture, in particular the relationship to class and politics.

Warhol and Morris were both strongly committed to creating a more democratic context for art, through both the design and production of their work.

The exhibition will bring together significant and iconic works by both artists from public and private collections including some rarely seen work.

It will include archival material owned or made by both artists that sheds light on their influences and working practices. The exhibition will also be an opportunity to show Holy Grail tapestries.

Enchanted Dreams: The Pre-Raphaelite Art of Edward Robert Hughes, October 17, 2015 to January 2016

Enchanted Dreams will be the first exhibition dedicated to Hughes and his work for more than a century.

It will bring together paintings, drawings, watercolours and photographs from public and private collections in the UK and overseas, many of them unseen.

This unique exhibition has been organised by Birmingham Museums Trust which holds the single finest collection of works by the Pre-Raphaelites and their associates anywhere in the world.

Enchanted Dreams will introduce Hughes as a man and as an artist, tracing his life and career for the very first time.

It will explore his relationships within the Pre-Raphaelite circle and present his delightful child portraiture, exquisite drawings and the lyrical late 'blue pictures' such as Night with her Train of Stars and Twilight Fantasies which have become famous and loved worldwide.

Soldier Stories: Birmingham and the Royal Warwickshire Regiment 1914-1918, July 19 - 26

Birmingham was the main recruiting area for the Royal Warwickshire Regiment at the beginning of the 20th century. This exhibition focuses on the stories of some of the Birmingham men who served in the Regiment in the First World War.

Many gallantry medals were awarded to men serving in the Regiment including six Victoria Crosses, two of which were awarded to Birmingham men.

This exhibition brings together loans from Royal Warwickshire Regiment collector Dave Vaux and objects from Birmingham’s collection.

Eastside Projects, Birmingham, January 31 to April 11 (public preview January 30)

Birmingham Show

This new exhibition will ask questions like: "What is the art of Birmingham? Is there an accent to Birmingham's art making?" and "How is Birmingham useful for the production of art?"

It will transport visitors from the Birmingham Women's Artists' Group of the 1970s to the practices of young artists working across Birmingham and the world today.

Eastside Projects' intention is not to create an authoritative survey but to initiate conversations and to think again about our city as a place that produces and supports artists in many different ways.

Jerwood Encounters: 3-phase

A new artist development collaboration scheme between Eastside Projects, g39 (Cardiff) and Jerwood Charitable Foundation through Jerwood Visual Arts (London) will enable early career artists Kelly Best and Georgie Grace to contribute to five new exhibitions across the collaborating galleries.

Selected from more than 90 applications, the pair will be given year-long curatorial and practical support from the partners.

They will each develop a solo show opening at Eastside Projects in January and March 2015 respectively.

The artists were selected for their ambitious and rigorous ideas which were felt to reflect their commitment to developing an outstanding art practice.

Kelly Best's work is rooted in drawing and deals with sculptural concerns - thinking past the constraints of the edge of the paper and drawing directly onto the wall and floor.

Herbert Art Gallery & Museum, Coventry

People of India: Photographs by Jason Scott Tilley, until January 11

An exhibition of three series of photographs, taken in India at different time periods spanning the last 150 years.

The Great War: Coventry's Story, until February 1

This marks the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War and the experiences of the city's people in the armed forces and on the home front.

Recording Britain, January 30 - April 26

Beneath the spectres of invasion and aerial bombing, the Scheme for Recording the Changing Face of Britain rapidly commissioned artists to paint 'places and buildings of characteristic national interest'.

Now held by the Victoria and Albert Museum, the resulting collection of more than 1,500 paintings by artists including John Piper and Kenneth Rowntree created a remarkable, yet highly selective, snapshot of a fast-changing country.

Wolverhampton Art Gallery

The Making of Mordor, until January 17

'Mordor' conjures images of a blackened land consumed by industry by exploring the links between JRR Tolkien's depictions of this fantasy region and the Black Country of the 1900s, alongside contemporary responses.

Brian Yale: First World War Battlefield Paintings, until January 24

The Cradley-born artist forms part of Wolverhampton's commemoration of the outbreak of the First World War. After attending Stourbridge School of Art, Yale studied at the Royal College of Art at the same time as David Hockney and Allen Jones.

The paintings, dating from the 1980s, are based on sketches made on the spot of some of the most famous and tragic battlefields of the First World War.

Pop Europe!, July 5 - February 7, 2015

This is a colourful display of Pop and Op Art, Expressionist and Abstract works. The gallery has produced its first app to go with an exhibition.

Bantock House Museum

When Santa came to the Factory: Remembering the Works Children's Parties, until January 18

This photography exhibition remembers the Christmas parties organised by the factories where their families worked.

Bilston Craft Gallery

Acts of Making Festival, February 14 - 28

This will challenge definitions of craft, how it is produced and what the legacy of craft objects can be. It will also enable the public to experience and be part of performances, processions, live installations and collaborative making.

The Barber Institute of Fine Arts

The Imperial Legacy in Coinage and Culture, February 27 - January 24, 2016

Today's coins feature the Queen's portrait facing right and a Latin script around the royal head.

Britain is not the only nation, empire or state to channel ancient Rome in this way. The Barber's collection of coins from the Byzantine Empire, Hungary, Georgia and Armenia collectively illustrate both the problems and possibilities of being genuine heirs of Rome.

Attempting to uncover the political uses of Rome's legacy, this exhibition encourages the visitor to ponder why we are so often told of the empire's importance - and whose interests such imagery serves.

Gods and Heroes, January 23 - May 25

Epic ambitions underpin this display inspired by Hercules and Caucus, the magnificent chiaroscuro woodcut by Hendrick Goltzius, recently acquired for the gallery.

Gods and Heroes includes prints after Titian, Michelangelo and Rubens, featuring subjects drawn from both ancient mythology and the Judeo-Christian tradition.

It seeks to uncover the methods and motives behind the representation of the superhuman and supernatural in art.

Revolutionising Fashion, February 6 - April 26

The frivolous and extravagant fashions of the Ancien Régime were already in decline at the onset of the French Revolution in 1789. In the ensuing years, a taste for simpler, classically inspired clothing migrated across from Revolutionary France into Britain.

This display explores the depiction of fashionable dress in an array of elegant 18th and early 19th-century British miniatures by the likes of Richard Cosway, George Engleheart and John Smart.

On loan from two outstanding private collections, these delicate little paintings are complemented by prints and drawings from the Barber's own collection.

Bromsgrove Artrix

Joshua Matheson - Creative Interpretation Through Beauty, February 4 - March 1

Images designed to offer an insight into the creative world of hairdressing and make-up artistry.

The New Art Gallery Walsall

Darren Banks – The Raven, until April 26

Artist Darren Banks, who discovered he had a family connection to ballet dancer and DJ Churton Fairman and was intrigued by his life story, has recently created a body of work inspired by Fairman's legacy.

Banks' practice examines the relationship between objects and film so he was drawn to Fairman's work as both a sculptor and horror movie actor.

The Clive Beardsmore Gift - Interventions in the Garman Ryan Galleries, until December 30

This will be a selection from a new substantial gift of artworks donated to the gallery by private collector Clive Beardsmore.

He has a longstanding association with the gallery, having served as an assistant to then curator Michael Mosesson in the 1970s, at the time Walsall received Kathleen Garman's gift.

Exhibition by Sikander Pervez, January 30 - April 19

Sikander Pervez transforms mundane objects such as chairs, walls and plinths, into poetic visual forms by challenging our perceptions of the usual functions associated with them.

He will be creating a brand new sculptural installation for his first solo exhibition since graduating from Staffordshire University.

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