We at H&A love it when charities and organisations for which we’ve sourced the perfect ‘meanwhile space’ send us updates of what they’re doing with the property now. Most recently we’ve been thrilled to receive an exciting update from Direct Art Action – an arts charity operating within the West Midlands, for whom we sourced a former BHS clothing store as part of our ongoing project to put empty commercial premises to good use.
Since occupying the property, Direct Art Action have focussed on connecting with local schools in order to encourage young minds and help them explore their artistic talents. They’ve hosted an exhibition in connection with a local secondary school, John Willmott, in which the school showcased its GCSE and A-level students’ work. Direct Art Action were able to organise a private showing for parents, with several GSCE students providing live music to listen to while they admired the artwork.
Katie Hammond of Direct Art Action says: “I think after lockdown it was amazing to be able to support the students, especially with a good chunk of the work created at home during the lockdown.”
Rightly proud of the charity’s efforts, she adds: “We’ve also facilitated private showings of the gallery for local schools. I open an hour before we open to the public, and they have activity sheets to sketch their favourite piece and explain why they like it. This has been really popular. My favourite feedback was from a Queensbury school pupil who told me he thought the gallery was ‘banging’ and gave us 5 out of 5!”
Another avenue the charity has recently begun to explore is fusing music with art. Over the summer, they were approached by two members of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra. The result of which was a free musical event performed by the Symphony Orchestra where its accomplished musicians played pieces of music that they found to perfectly accompany and add an inspiring quality to the artwork on show. In a sort of ‘response to the Symphony Orchestra’s response to the artwork’, they also had local artist James Ware creating his own artwork to their music. The event was highly successful, with over 250 visitors to the gallery in total!