Thursday, 14 July 2011

Narrow boat is restored for innovative arts project

Ikon Gallery is to refurbish a Birmingham narrow boat as part of a major three-year arts project, Slow Boat, involving the city’s youth.

The Aaron Manby, generously leased from Sandwell Council, has been unused for almost a year but will now be restored and converted into a moving studio and venue by Birmingham-based design company Queen & Crawford. The boat will act as a stage for on-board exhibitions, canal-side performances, screenings, installations, talks and activities in various locations along the canal network.

The Slow Boat project involves the Ikon Youth Programme (IYP), a group of 20 young people aged 15–19 from Birmingham. Between July and November 2011, IYP will produce their first Slow Boat programme of activity with Dutch artist Marjolijn Dijkman, based on the idea of a ‘cabinet of curiosities’.

Slow Boat will launch on Saturday 16 July in Brindleyplace with a celebratory afternoon including boat trips on the canal, arts activities for all the family, afternoon teas and a brass band. It then plays host to a Floating Feast on Saturday 20 August, created by Birmingham artist duo Companis.

Ikon Gallery won a grant of £220,000 from the Paul Hamlyn Foundation for the Slow Boat project, which is also supported by British Waterways.

Jonathan Watkins, Director, Ikon Gallery, said: “The Slow Boat enables Ikon to use the local canal network creatively, developing new audiences along the way. At the same time it encourages a group of young people who will be the artists, curators and museum directors of the future.”

Slow Boat events

Slow Boat Launch

Saturday 16 July, 12pm, with boat trips 1-4pm

Birmingham and Fazeley Canal

Towpath behind Bank Restaurant, Brindleyplace

Short boat trips are scheduled 1-4pm. Children must be accompanied by an adult at all times. Visit  for a boat trip timetable.

Floating Feast

Saturday 20 August, 7 – 9pm - £15

Towpath behind Bank Restaurant, Brindleyplace

Join artist duo Companis aboard Ikon’s renovated Slow Boat for a truly unique feast.

For one night only supper is served in response to Birmingham’s watery urban landscape. Delight in the unseen, the murky and the inner-city underbelly of Birmingham. Places are limited to 20, please call Ikon on 0121 248 0708 to book.

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