Oldbury and Cradley Heath to benefit from Black Country Voyages project

Stourbridge News: The converted narrow boat  Aaron Manby which will be bringing art into the Black Country. The converted narrow boat Aaron Manby which will be bringing art into the Black Country.

THE acclaimed Birmingham art gallery given £210,000 to send a canal boat into the Black Country has revealed Oldbury, Langley Green, Old Hill and Cradley Heath will benefit from the project.

The Arts Council have funded the Ikon Gallery's Black Country Voyages project for the next three years and local culture vultures are being urged to get involved.

Sandwell Council have leased Ikon the 72 feet narrow boat The Aaron Manby which will be navigating local canals and docking for arts events and performances.

Last week artists, singers, poets, arts groups officials and dignitaries gathered at a launch event for Black Country Voyages.

Ikon director Jonathan Watkins said: "Black Country Voyages is a wonderful way we can cross the border from Birmingham into the Black Country so I was delighted when the Arts Council gave us funding.

"We will be able to go into places like Cradley Heath and Oldbury which will be great for the youngsters on our team and for everyone interested in art in the Black Country."

He added: "There are so many people to thank for getting this project off the ground but I'd like to thank Sandwell Council for leasing us the wonderful boat The Aaron Manby."

Birmingham artists Juneau Projects will curate a programme of events, performances and exhibitions, related to and inspired by the heritage of the Black Country.

Ikon's learning co-ordinator Kate Self said: "The Slow Boat project, which was the forerunner to Black Country Voyages, really created some wonderful moments for everyone involved.

"We are delighted to have already linked up with the Cradley Heath Arts Collective which will bring Ikon into the heart of the Black Country."

Other organisations which have signed up to the project included RSA Academy Tipton, Birmingham Canal Navigations Society, Smethwick Galton Valley Centre, Smethwick Heritage Centre, The Red House Glass Cone in Stourbridge and Sandwell Community Libraries.

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