Freelance journalist with a passion for theatre, the arts, food and books.
Free Art Events For All The Family On The Canal
Canals, boats and art merge for a creative voyage of discovery in Birmingham and the Black Country.
All aboard for a special summer of art
Ikon's innovative free art programme Black Country Voyages takes place on board a converted canal boat with the Ikon Youth Programme crew steering the barge around the region to get artistic with local people.
London-based artist Jacques Nimki leads this year's programme and will transform the boat into The Black Apotheca – a floating laboratory of herbal concoctions derived from local plants.
The plants ferment slowly over time and are housed in glass, reflecting light and colour. The boat also showcases drawings, recipes and objects, all relating to the business of apothecaries, plus a collection of lozenges, cordials, country wines, sorbets and teas that can even be tasted at selected events.
Jacques Nimki's practice involves the use of wild plants to communicate ideas about environmental and cultural issues. He adapts archaic processes more commonly associated with the Victorian era of exploration and collection.
Special free events during the summer take place on board the boat from May 16 to July 11 from Stourbridge to Kings Norton. This includes at the Birmingham Canal Navigations Society summer boat gathering in Oldbury, the International Festival of Glass in Stourbridge, and community festivals across the Black Country.
Ikon is a renowned art gallery in Birmingham city centre which has created off-site programmes in the West Midlands in order to develop dynamic relationships between art, artists and audiences outside the gallery.
It is part of a three year art programme through the industrial canal routes, which is run in partnership with the Canal & River Trust and is supported by Arts Council Strategic Touring, Canal & River Trust and Sandwell Council.
Ikon's Black Country Voyages programme sails into the region.
May 16 - Birmingham Canal Navigations Society Summer Boat Gathering Midday - 4pm – FREE Titford Pump House, Engine Street off Tat Bank Road, Oldbury B69 4NL The annual BCNS rally takes place at the historic Titford Pump House with stalls, refreshments and boat trips. Join Black Country Voyages for creative activities and to celebrate the launch of Jacques Nimki as lead artist for 2015.
May 26 -27 - International Festival of Glass
10am–5pm – FREE
Red House Glass Cone, High Street, Stourbridge DY8 4AZ
Black Country Voyages joins the International Glass Festival with sessions suitable for ages 6 and over. All children must be accompanied by an adult.
Booking is essential by contacting The Red House Glass Cone on 01384 811280.
June 13 - Longwood Boat Club Canal Festival
11am–5pm – FREE
Rushall Top Lock, Aldridge Road, Walsall WS4 2JS
Visit Black Country Voyages at the Longwood Boat Club for stalls, refreshments and entertainment.
June 28 - Brownhills Community Festival
10am–4pm – FREE
Canalside, Silver Street, Brownhills WS8 6DZ
With music, crafts and stalls.
July 10 - 11 - Kings Norton Junction Festival
10am–4pm – FREE
Kings Norton playing fields and village green, Pershore Road South, Kings Norton B30 3EJ
This is a one-off event in Kings Norton with boat rides, local walks, food and refreshments. The event is organised by the Worcester–Birmingham & Droitwich Canals Society.