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The New Birmingham Office Amenity Is An On-Site Artist

Sculpture by Suzi Osborn, coming to an office near you

Bruntwood, the Birmingham landlord, is to go arty in 2019. And they could be setting a new trend for workspace amenity in the city.

The property business said it "has compelling plans" for more partnerships between property and the arts in the city which means installing artists in city centre office blocks.

The first stage of the new strategy sees two Birmingham artists chosen as the first recipients of a year's worth of free studio space in Birmingham city centre.

Mixed media specialist Joyce Treasure and sculptor Suzi Osborn were among 25 applicants for Bruntwood-Grand Union’s artists-in-residence scheme designed to help kick-start careers of young or emerging artists in Birmingham.

Starting in February, Treasure and Osborn will occupy a new studio in the basement of Bruntwood’s Grade II-listed Cornwall Buildings on Newhall Street and will receive mentoring from Grand Union’s curatorial team and be invited to take part in wider Grand Union social and studio events.

Osborn is currently looking at the Paradise Circus development, working on metallic shells that will become light fittings.

“There is a massive lack of studio space in Birmingham and it’s difficult to find the capital to set up a studio," Osborn said.

“Bruntwood see art as something that’s important for a city because it can work as an attractor of people and artists as well as being a driver for the city — it’s about having a great strong cultural scene," she added.

Rob Valentine, Bruntwood director of Birmingham; Jo Capper, Collaborative Programme Curator, Grand Union; Joyce Treasure; Suzi Osborn; Simon Bushell, Bruntwood’s Arts Coordinator.

Grand Union, which helps provide opportunities for city artists and are Bruntwood's collaborators on the project, say there will be practical spin-offs.

“It’s important that the commercial sector and arts can work together for mutual benefit, it really helps to grow the city’s appeal," Grand Union Collaborative Programme Curator Jo Capper said. "As public funding for the arts has decreased in the last five-10 years, support from the private sector has been invaluable for the continued growth and investment in culture in Birmingham.

“During this residency, Suzi will be working on a project which is capturing the surfaces of buildings as they are demolished and rebuilt, this is a really important legacy in terms of the city as its redeveloping and changing, capturing the moment before it’s lost. Joyce will be using the opportunity to develop a new body of work 'Hymns' which looks to develop visionary narratives about being a mother, artist, woman and student in Birmingham.”

Related Topics: Bruntwood, Birmingham offices