'Shark', Nicole Wilson, work in progress, 2012
Nicole Wilson is an American artist living and working in Chicago, IL.  Through performative actions, she re-imagines failure and futility with poetic gestures.
 
'Doing Being', Sparrow+Castice, 2012
We are Sparrow+Castice. We often talk, occasionally think, frequently argue and less frequently than that make something or other (art). We also habitually use a thesaurus.”

 
'Fireworks Display', Ellie Harrison, 2010
Ellie Harrison was born in London in 1979 and now lives and works in Glasgow, where she sees herself as a 'political refugee' escaped from the Tory strongholds of Southern England .

She describes her practice as emerging from an ongoing attempt to strike-a-balance between the roles of ‘artist’, ‘activist’ and ‘administrator’.

As well as making playful, politically engaged works for gallery contexts, she is also the coordinator of the national Bring Back British Rail campaign, which strives to popularise the idea of renationalising of our public transport system, and is the agent for The Artists’ Bond - a long-term speculative funding scheme for artists.

 
'Imago', Caitlin Griffiths, video still, 2011
Caitlin Griffiths is an artist based in the West Midlands. 

“I want something from you. I want to know where you are, how you got there, who you think you are and who you’d like to be. I collect pieces of people and build myself among them.”

Central to each work that Griffiths produces is the idea of exchange: written fictions are bourne from other’s memories, sketches and signatures make record of new introductions and chance meetings and video works show conversations as acts of shared catharsis. In her moving image work in particular, the complex ideas of voice and ownership reflect something very personal to the artist as she often uses her art as a type of therapy.

Her work has been exhibited in the UK and in Europe.

Griffiths gained her BA (Hons) in Fine Art from The University of Reading on 2001, having spent a semester at Mason Gross School of the Arts in NJ, USA studying Video Art & Politics under the seminal feminist artist Martha Rosler. In 2006 she gained her MPhil from The University of Birmingham, where her thesis focused on the work of British artist film-makers Isaac Julien and Steve McQueen.

Born 1977 Birmingham, UK. Continues to live and work in Birmingham UK
 
'Concrete Action', Tom Crawford, regeneration intervention, 2011
Using a mixed media approach, Tom Crawford (b.1979) addresses issues concerning the structural inequalities of neoliberalism whilst questioning the social and political efficacy of art and its ideological instrumenalisation. Drawing from mainly British cultural references, Crawford's work explores the class politics prevalent in Britain today. He is a recent graduate from Goldsmith's University where he completed the MFA in Fine Art in 2011. Recent exhibitions includeOutpost Members Show 2012, selected by Ruth Ewan. The Aspiration Factory at Aeroplastics Contemporary, Brussels, 2012. Colloquial at Schau Fenster, Berlin, 2012 and Other Peoples Problems at PSL, Leeds, 2011.

 
Municipal Bank, Broad Street, Birmingham.
14th – 17th March 2013

An RIBA event, curated by Charlie Levine / TROVE
in association with Aedas Presents, BAA and BCC.

Thrift Radiates Happiness is the first contemporary arts exhibition ever to be held at the Municipal Bank in central Birmingham, UK.  This exhibition presents works based on the British class system, the ever-present UK recession and investment in art and the world economy.

With the main foyer space hosting a specifically commissioned sound piece by Elly Clarke, the offices off this central entrance will house pieces of work by Tom Crawford, Caitlin Griffiths, Ellie Harrison and Nicole Wilson, all of whom work with and present works based on commerce, current economical issues, up-cycling objects and investment.

For the second part of this exhibition audience members will be invited to 'invest' £2 for which they will be given a number to a safety deposit box, within which will be a limited edition print by one of the contributing artists.  Their £2 investment immediately rising and resulting in an original piece of artwork made for the exhibition by artists and architects. 

Charlie Levine
 
The Library of Birmingham holds one of the UK's national collections of photography. The collection comprises some 3.5 million items ranging from daguerreotypes made at the dawn of the photographic era to digital works made by leading contemporary photographers. The Library of Birmingham, supported by Arts Council England and working in collaboration with local, national and international partners is creating a hub and network for photography and photographers. This new project, called GRAIN, will include research and development projects and a range of ambitious high quality opportunities all aimed to strengthen and sustain photography in the region. The Library of Birmingham is one of the most exciting new developments Birmingham's cultural landscape and the photography hub will make it a national and international centre for photography.
 
Today we found out that we had been successful in getting a grant for the arts from Arts Council West Midlands.  Without this funding we would have been unable to realise the project and pay the artists! 

We are all very excited and celebrated over breakfast.

Charlie Levine
 
Aedas, a leading international design practice, offers services in architecture, interior design, master planning, landscape, urban design and building consultancy within Asia, the Middle East, Europe and the Americas.

Aedas Presents’ has enabled the work of more than 30 artists from West Midlands’ universities and colleges to be showcased to over 2000 of Birmingham’s business and arts community at its Colmore Plaza home.

Aedas Presents is the brainchild of global architectural practice Aedas and independent curator Charlie Levine.  Key supporters include the Birmingham Institute of Art & Design at University College Birmingham, the Birmingham Library and the Royal Institute of British Architects.

It was founded to support and showcase the work of emerging artists, students and graduates from local universities and colleges and to help them get on the first rung on the career ladder. 

 
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