Press release

Thrift Radiates Happiness
Arts Exposition
Launch 14th March 2013 5-8pm
Open to the public 15-17 March 2013 12-6pm
Municipal Bank Building, Broad Street, Birmingham

Thrift Radiates Happiness are pleased to announce an additional partner – GRAIN.

GRAIN is a new Arts Council England funded project initiative being led by the new Library of Birmingham. , officially opening in September 2013.  Over the next two years, GRAIN working in collaboration with local, national and international partners, GRAIN will create a hub and network for photography and photographers in the West Midlands region. This new project will include research and development projects and a range of ambitious high quality opportunities all aimed to strengthen and sustain photography in the region.  

is a scheme that works with West Midlands based curators and photographers to help promote one another and the photographic opportunities in the region. 

Charlie Levine, Thrift Radiates Happiness curator, has been awarded the first of two GRAIN  Curator’s Bursarys. The Bursarys have been established to help fund ambitious curatorial projects, to support the professional development of emerging and mid-career curators during strategic points in their careers, and to provide them with opportunities to take stock, expand and feed the development of new work. 

selected as the inaugural curator for this scheme.  Based in Birmingham and London, Levine’s first GRAIN partnership is with recent graduate from Birmingham Institute of Art and Design, Julie Tsang who has been invited to photograph .

Levine has invited Tsang into the Municipal Bank, a Grade II Listed heritage site in Birmingham that has been closed to the public for over 10 years.  Tsang will has been invited to make a series of architectural studies of photograph the site before the Thrift Radiates Happiness exhibition goes into the building in March 2013.

Tsang’s images will then be used by Levine in an online publication which mimics the official catalogue that accompanied the launch of the Bank back in 1917.  A copy of Thithis s catalogue is held can be found in the Library of Birmingham archives.

There is also an opportunity to ‘invest’ £2 at the exhibition, for your investment you will leave with a limited edition print by one of several artists/architects.  Tsang’s work, as well as an image from the archives, is one of those limited edition pieces.

Tsang’s photographs are beautiful and capture the slightly run down site’s former glory.  Levine says, “Julie was an obvious choice for this project, her style is formal but she can really emote through her use of light.  She is a rising star in the West Midlands art scene and we are very happy to have her, and GRAIN, as part of the Thrift Radiates Happiness project.”

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. 



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