Thursday 27th June 2013 - 6 - 8pm
MADE, Newhall Square, Off 144 Newhall Street, Jewellery Quarter, Birmingham

Thrift Radiates Happiness was a 4 day exhibition that took place in March 2013 at Birmingham's Municipal Bank. Curated by Charlie Levine, artists included Spartacus Chetwynd, Elly Clarke, Tom Crawford, Caitlin Griffiths, Ellie Harrison, Mecanoo, Sparrow+Castice, Julie Tsang, Cole Wilson and Mary Yacoob.

It was realised in partnership with the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) and Birmingham Architects Association (BAA). 

To coincide with RIBA's Love Architecture Festival social and BAA Summer Programme launch night, we will be launching the Thrift Radiates Happiness catalogue - Retrospect. 

Please join us at MADE, Newhall Square on Thursday 27th June and pick up your copy! There will be a BBQ, drinks, talks from project partners the BAA and RIBA and, of course, the catalogue.

The catalogues will be available for the special price of £4 during the launch event, and available online and at the RIBA London Bookstore afterwards. 
 
Here are some of our favourite funny 'I wish this was...' answers.
 
Press release

You can own a Turner Prize Nominee, Spartacus Chetwynd, print for just £2.00!

Thrift Radiates Happiness
Arts Exposition
14-17 March 2013
Municipal Bank Building, Broad Street, Birmingham
www.thriftradiateshappiness.com

The Thrift Radiates Happiness team is delighted to announce two new artists to the event.

Firstly we are thrilled to announce that British artist Spartacus Chetwynd, a 2012 Turner prize nominee, will be one of our artists at the Thrift arts exposition opening next month (March), in Birmingham UK.

Chetwynd studied painting at the Royal College of Art 2004 and celebrates occasions in cultural history that exemplify extremist behaviour and belief. 

For the Birmingham exposition, Chetwynd has produced a limited edition print that, as part of the Investment Project, you can potentially own for only £2.00 investment. 

Other artists partaking in the Investment Project include Mecanoo (architects), Sparrow+Castice, Mary Yacoob and an original archive image from the Library of Birmingham.

Charlie Levine, curator at the TROVE gallery said that it was a great accolade to have attracted Chetwynd to perform at the THRIFT exposition. “This is not only an amazing opportunity to have access to an incredible and usual closed building, but also to invest just £2 and walk home with some incredible limited edition (of 100 each) prints from the architects of the new library to Turner Prize nominee, Spartacus Chetwynd.”

The Thrift Radiates Happiness exposition is a showcase a creative programme of drawings, images, sound and light, video and music from local, national and international artists. Other artists involved in the exhibition include Elly Clarke, Tom Crawford, Caitlin Griffiths, Ellie Harrison and Nicole Wilson.

The Thrift Radiates Happiness title has been taken from an inscription found carved across a main beam within the building.  All the art projects featured will appropriately focus on finance and investment

Entry to the three day event, being held at the former Municipal Bank Building on Broad Street, Birmingham, is free. This is the first time that the Grade II listed building has been open to the public in ten years.

The event is the result of an arts and business collaboration between Birmingham based gallery TROVE, the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), the Birmingham Architectural Association (BAA), Birmingham City Council and global architect practice Aedas.

It has been funded by The Arts Council, RIBA and Aedas. Alongside the art exhibition there will be an extensive educational programme provided by the BAA and RIBA, including a public debate, heritage tours and a student design competition. 

Visit www.thriftradiateshappiness.com

Ends

For further information visit www.thriftradiateshappiness.com or call:

Jennifer Chatham, Chatham Communications (+44) 7775 912818

Jennifer@chathamcomms.co.uk


 
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Release date:  17th January 2013

One of Birmingham’s most historic landmark buildings is set to open its doors to the public for the first time in ten years when it plays host to a captivating four day contemporary arts exposition.

From 13-17 March 2013 the former Grade II listed Municipal Bank on Broad Street will showcase a creative programme of drawings, images, sound and light, video and music from local, national and international artists.

The Municipal Bank was established in the aftermath of the First World War as a savings bank for the citizens of Birmingham. This grandiose building was opened on November 27 1933 by Prince George. It closed its doors in 2001.

The title of the exhibition is Thrift Radiates Happiness. The line has been taken from an inscription found carved across a main beam within the building.  All the art projects featured will appropriately focus on finance and investment.

The showcase event is the result of an arts and business collaboration between Birmingham based gallery TROVE, the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), the Birmingham Architectural Association (BAA), Birmingham City Council and global architect practice Aedas.

Entrance to the exhibition will be free thanks to funding awarded by The Arts Council, RIBA and Aedas.

Alongside the art exhibition there will be an extensive educational programme provided by the BAA and RIBA, including a public debate, heritage tours and a student design competition.  

Marcus Wilkins, studio director at Aedas, said:  “Birmingham has a vibrant architectural community, a remarkable collection of heritage buildings and a thriving arts scene.  These ingredients have been combined to deliver what promises to be a truly unique exhibition of art.

“The value of business and art working together has long been recognised by those working in both sectors. It strengthens creativity, innovation and collaboration, something that Birmingham is reputed for.  Aedas is delighted to be part of it.”

Plans for the exhibition, that will open during the day and evening are well underway.  National and international artists already signed up include Elly Clarke, Tom Crawford, Caitlin Griffiths, Ellie Harrison and Nicole Wilson.

Charlie Levine, director and curator of the TROVE Gallery, added:  “We are assembling an amazing collection of artists for everybody of all ages to enjoy.  There will be areas where visitors will listen, watch, study and participate as well as enjoy the full gravitas of the building itself.  Visitors will discover how art and architecture make a positive difference to our lives and experience first-hand the art of investment

“A key feature of the exhibition is an auction that will take place in the safety deposit box room.  Visitors will be invited to invest £2 to receive a random number for a safety deposit box that will contain a limited edition art print.”

Gavin Orton, regional chair of RIBA West Midlands, added:  “This rich new cultural collaboration will deliver something truly spectacular for Birmingham.  It is a perfect example of Birmingham organisations working together to create a pioneering cultural partnership that will deliver a new chapter of arts activity for the city.

“We are delighted that the Council has allowed us to use this great building to promote arts and architecture in this way. It is a demonstration on how important local buildings can be creatively re-used and re-imagined. The exhibition theme of investment and finance is also highly fitting in a building that has stood the test of at least four major recessions in the last 100 years.

“We hope that this is the first of many exhibitions that this new partnership will deliver for Birmingham and the West Midlands.”

Visit www.thriftradiateshappiness.com

Ends

Pictured:  An internal shot of the bank’s original safety deposit box room

For further information visit www.thriftradiateshappiness.com or call:

Jennifer Chatham, Chatham Communications 

Jennifer@chathamcomms.co.uk

Kate Eagle, Aedas

Kate.eagle@aedas.com 

Carina Schneider, RIBA

Carina.Schneider@riba.org 


 
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TROVE’s and Aedas Presents’ idea for Thrift Radiates Happiness couldn’t have come at a better time. With the RIBA focussing more and more on Public Programmes across the regions, being able to work with TROVE and Aedas Presents on this project was a great opportunity for us to get out there and support a great project that brings together so many aspects of what’s important to us.

RIBA West Midlands had previously worked with Aedas, holding events at their Colmore Plaza offices – from strategy workshops with the RIBA President to LEGO workshops and drawing exhibitions as part of Love Architecture Festival 2012 – and I had always been a fan of their art programme ‘Aedas Presents’ that Kate Eagle ran with Charlie Levine. 

Still, why Thrift? It’s a great chance to bring something unique and special to a public audience and is at the same time utterly relevant and every-day, touching on themes of art, investment and architecture.

While architecture occupies a fascinatingly ambiguous place on a sliding scale somewhere between art, culture & design, and construction & the built environment; aesthetics and commerce, its commonalities and symbiosis with ‘art’ and ‘culture’ are hard to overlook. 

Just like arts and culture, architecture makes a crucial contribution to people’s experience of a city, the happiness and connectivity within communities and overall influence on aspects that make cities tick: social cohesion, crime, health, well-being, visitor economy.

But just the same, these major impacts are often invisible or intangible, and especially in cash-strapped times like these it’s fashionable to question expenditure on things that are often perceived as luxury, such as the arts, or good design – even if they are in fact part of the solution.

Thrift Radiates Happiness touches upon all those themes in one masterstroke. 
It opens a central landmark in Birmingham City Centre, right at the heart of one of its cultural centres – alongside the Symphony Hall, the REP and the New Library – that has previously been closed to the public. By doing that it not only breathes life into a piece of urban fabric that has somehow become invisible to passer-bys, but also illustrates the opportunities that these empty gems can hold: they can be concert venues, galleries, theatre stages, film screens, dance floors, debating chambers.

It thereby alludes to something that is key to what architecture is in part about: being a purposeful, well-designed frame to be used and enjoyed by people through how they utilise the building and in turn shaping their lives. It shapes the experience of the space itself and whatever is happening within it, forms memories in a place that gives identity and character to a city and its inhabitants.

And even more, Thrift Radiates Happiness gives us food for thought on a very current topic: what is the worth of money, what do we invest in and why, how can we keep providing for arts and our environment despite the economic circumstances through partnerships, and which role do art and architecture play in providing meaning and shaping the every-day reality we live in?

Carina Schneider, RIBA West Midlands

@carinacarinas
@ribawestmids


 
The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA)

The Royal Institute of British Architects champions better buildings, communities and the environment through architecture and our members. We provide the standards, training, support and recognition that put our members – in the UK and overseas – at the peak of their profession.

With government, we work to improve the design quality of public buildings, new homes and new communities.

We also hold one of the largest and most important collections of architectural drawings, photographs and archives| in the world, and stage talks, exhibitions, events| and awards| (including the prestigious RIBA Stirling Prize) that help people see their surroundings in a completely new way.

 
Realising Thrift Radiates Happiness takes a huge team of people and many partnerships.  The core team leading the project, however, is made up of 6 people.  We are:

Kate Eagle - Marketing Manager, Aedas and Director, Aedas Presents
Amy Kirkham - Project Assistant, Thrift Radiates Happiness
Charlie Levine - Independent Curator and Critic, Director, TROVE
Kerry-Ann O'Neill - Director, Birmingham Architects Association
Gavin Orton - Regional Chair, RIBA West Midlands
Carina Schneider - Events and Communications Co-ordinator, RIBA West Midlands
 
Thrift Radiates Happiness is an exhibition that sits either side of a full stop.  It arrives at the end of the Arts Council Funding Aedas Presents was granted in 2010 and the end of the use Aedas’ Birmingham office space in 2012.  

It is, however, also the beginning of something new.  Thrift Radiates Happiness builds on the arts and architecture relationship bridged by Aedas Presents. 

Aedas Presents was founded by Kate Eagle, marketing manager for Aedas West Midlands, and Director of TROVE, curator Charlie Levine in 2010.  Its original aim was to bring exciting emerging artists into a corporate space, offer first solo show opportunities and challenge Aedas’ audience, visitors and employees with something new.  Aedas Presents combined both business and art world, with audiences growing for each exhibition.

With their last show in the Birmingham Aedas office in May 2012, Kate and Charlie began to consider other options for their partnership, and wondered how they could build on the success of the Aedas Presents original 18-month programme.   It was over a glass of wine one lunchtime that Charlie spoke to Kate about the possibilities of using the Municipal Bank in 2013 for an exhibition.  Knowing, though, that without proper funding and partnerships, the building could never be opened up and programmed to its full potential, Kate instantly suggested that it become a TROVE / Aedas Presents project.

It was through this already established and respected partnership that additional project partners came on board.  It started with Gavin Orton, then the Director of the Birmingham Architects Association, followed by Carina Schenider and Matt Dobson at the RIBA West Midlands, and finally the Library of Birmingham archives. 

It is through these partnerships, conversations and skill sharing that Thrift Radiates Happiness has come about.  Its overall aims are to present high quality, accessible art in an amazing surrounding.  Both the art and architecture will compliment each other, and all partners will be given the opportunity to use the building for their own audiences as well as open the building up to the public, passer by, art and architect enthusiasts as well as local historians and general interested parties.

Thrift Radiates Happiness aims to be a platform for future projects.  Not necessarily in the Municipal Bank, but rather between associates, partners and helpers on the project.  Thrift Radiates Happiness will open up communication and marketing channels, its potential for future collaborations and crossover projects is huge, with new conversations already happening between the partners for future activity in the West Midlands.

This project highlights the need for cross-disciplinary conversation.  Art and architecture meeting in this type of activity is beneficial to all parties.  Business and the creative industries helping each other out is integral to their survival.  It is fitting that this exhibition takes place in a bank.  Cash, funding, the recession and commerce are the themes found within the art exhibition that will take place.  But they are also highlighted in the partnerships, some of which have offered monetary support, others advisory support and all offering enthusiasm for the project.  Just knowing everyone involved is passionate about the building, the exhibition and each other, can only lead to exciting future projects, conversations and alternative models for producing arts and creative industry activity in the region.

Charlie Levine