Birmingham has become a culture capital and boasts a thriving art scene. Venues and facilities have been created and maintained since the 1980s to enable the arts to flourish and now Birmingham is reaping the benefits through better quality of life and local businesses are also well supported by the constant influx of domestic and overseas visitors to the city.
Those who travel to Birmingham come for a number of reasons. To begin with, the city’s considerable beauty! With miles of canals offering beautiful views, Birmingham has the perfect setting for artistic pursuits. Its numerous parks, such as the Cannon Hill Park and Kings Heath Park, provide welcome respite for those longing for a slower rhythm of life.
Music lovers will enjoy finding out about the city’s symphony orchestra which has an international reputation. As Birmingham city council also sponsors a professional choir, an opera group and contemporary music ensemble, there are regular performances to impress local and overseas followers.
Dance lovers can take pleasure in watching the shows staged by the local ballet company and dance agency instead; or visit the Symphony Hall, the Town Hall and the Hippodrome just to admire their magnificence and soak up the incredible atmosphere.
Another impressive building is the Library of Birmingham. Since opening its doors, it has attracted over a million people and is an important learning centre for the city. While its barbed-wire exterior might not be to everybody’s taste, the library has an incredible offering for visitors. Those enthused about taking pictures can admire its extensive photography collection, while aspiring writers and avid readers can join small groups to pursue their interests.
The Library of Birmingham is also home to a number of other collections, including treasured items, greeting cards and even scrapbooks.
Visual arts are well represented in the city as well. The main venues that attract hordes of visitors each year include the City Art Gallery, the University’s Barber Institute and the Ikon Gallery. These galleries showcase a mixture of styles, from Pre-Raphaelite to contemporary art work. They also host regular events to accompany permanent and touring exhibitions. There are other smaller, independent galleries too; and for those who appreciate art in open spaces, public sculptures are dotted all around the city.
The Midlands Arts Centre, or MAC, has an impressive façade and is a busy arts centre. Film festivals, live shows and temporary exhibitions all help to attract around 850,000 visitors to the venue each year.
Incredibly, the Birmingham City Council supports all of these enterprises despite its dismal financial state. With further plans to improve existing venues and facilities, the future of the cultural and arts scene in the city is looking secure.