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Ikon Gallery's boat to become floating arts centre

£120,000 grant will enable Brindleyplace gallery to take canal boat on a tour of Ladywood to promote arts and culture

A canal boat in Birmingham is to be transformed into a floating arts centre.

Arts Council England is investing £120,000 to transform Ikon Gallery's boat so it can conduct a three-year tour of Ladywood's canals.

The money comes from the Arts Council's 'Strategic Touring' programme, which is supported by the National Lottery and gives organisations the resources they need to bring arts and culture to more people across England.

Over the next three years, the £120,000 will help Brindleyplace-based Ikon Gallery to produce its Looping the Loop tour.

This artistic and creative programme will be shaped by local people, aimed at helping to create better access to arts and culture in the Ladywood district.

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Events will take place on the canal boat and at community and heritage sites along Birmingham's canal routes, including partnerships with local groups.

The tour will celebrate Ladywood's past, present and future through exhibitions and workshops, music events and film screenings.

It will bring national and international artists to the city and offer opportunities for training and skills development.

Peter Knott, Midlands area director for Arts Council England, said: "We want to see our Strategic Touring fund creating new ways for people to take part in artistic and cultural experiences where they live.

Ikon Gallery's canal boat The Aaron Manby
Ikon Gallery's canal boat The Aaron Manby

"Ikon's canal boat offers so much potential to help make this happen, which is why we're investing in this new tour.

"It will be great to see the boat offering people in Ladywood new opportunities to enjoy contemporary art on their doorstep."

Ian Hyde, deputy director of Ikon Gallery, added: "We are absolutely delighted to have secured this funding.

"It will enable us to build on our reputation following Slow Boat and Black Country Voyages for taking contemporary art to communities via the canals and waterways of the West Midlands.

"Our focus on Ladywood over the coming years is really important to us.

"We believe that working with residents in our local community, which is one of the most diverse districts in Birmingham, will help support our mission to engage a wide audience with all that we do."

Details about the artistic programme will be announced at a later date and £92,000 has already been raised in matched funding.

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