Top tips for an arty Christmas

Between visiting distant relatives and feasting on mince pies, you may get a few days to relax and enjoy some arty events this festive season. This December, there’s plenty going on around Birmingham so you can indulge your creative side with a host of exhibitions, live events and performances.

We’ve picked our top 6 tips that we promise will be more exciting than battling your way through Boxing Day sales or watching Home Alone 4 for the tenth year running.


Christmas Carol Concert at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire

11th December 2017, 12.10 – 1.00 pm

There’s nothing like Christmas carols to get you in the mood for Christmas and the Conservatoire’s Christmas Carol Concert promises to do just that.

Featuring some of the best talent from the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire, the performance is set to be a spectacularly festive treat.

Craft and art fairs at the MAC and Grand Union

Christmas shopping doesn’t have to be all about fighting your way through Primark or trawling the internet for the latest deals. Birmingham has some fantastic craft and art fairs where you can scout out unique and quirky gifts.

For some original pieces of art by the region’s most exciting contemporary artists we’d recommend the Grand Union Studios and Modern Clay Christmas Sale (1st December) which is set to be filled with original gifts for the dedicated art lover.

If you’re after something a bit more crafty then the Midland Art Centre’s annual Christmas Art Market is the one for you. With over 75 stands, the fair has a variety of stalls selling work by artists, designers and makers from across the midlands.

jan steen_02

Steen, J (1668-70) ‘The Marriage of Sarah and Tobias’

Pride and Persecution at Barber Institute of Fine Art

27th October 2017 – 21st January 2018

Pride and Persecution offers a unique insight into the paintings of Jan Steen, one of the masters of the Dutch Golden Age. Iconic works are exhibited alongside drawings and prints that tell the story of Jan Steen and the Old Testament scenes that he depicts.

If you’re after a bit of art history this Christmas, this is definitely the exhibition for you.

Theatre at one of Birmingham’s smaller venues

If you’re fancying a bit of theatre this festive season then there is plenty to see in  Birmingham.

Of course, the Birmingham Hippodrome has its annual pantomime (this year Suzanne Shaw plays the title role in Cinderella) but there are some other gems hidden in theatres all over the city. Birmingham’s smaller theatres have fantastic programmes planned with a range of professional and “amateur” plays, musicals and comedies.

If you’re after something to get you in the festive mood then we’d recommend The lion, the witch and the wardrobe at The Crescent Theatre (3rd – 16th December) or A Christmas Carol at The Blue Orange Theatre (16th – 30th December). If you’re up for something a little more avant-garde then check out the Skellig, based on the classic children’s novel, at The Old Joint Stock (20th – 30th December).

Image courtesy of Ambiguous Implements (1)

Ambiguous Implements at Vittoria Street Gallery

27th November 2017 – 15th December 2017

Vittoria Street Gallery is on a mission to prove that contemporary jewellery design is pushing the boundaries of artistic practice. Its current exhibition, Ambiguous Implements, will make you look at objects and jewellery design in a completely new light.

Featuring artists and designers from across the UK, the exhibition includes collected, manipulated and redesigned items that ‘playfully reconsider the familiar objects of our day to day life’.

Quentin Blake: Inside Stories at Compton Verney Art Gallery

20th October 2017 – 17th December 2017

If you fancy a trip out of the city this winter then we suggest Compton Verney Art Gallery.

The gallery occupies an 18th century Palladian house which sits in acres of “Capability” Brown landscape – the perfect backdrop for a crisp winter walk. Inside there’s a permanent collection of Neapolitan baroque art and British portraits and a series of temporary exhibitions.

The gallery’s winter exhibition, Quentin Blake: Inside Stories, takes the viewer on a journey through their childhood.

Having illustrated books by Roald Dahl and David Walliams, Quentin Blake is one of the most recognisable illustrators of his generation. Featuring original drawings and unseen sketches, the exhibition offers a unique insight into the illustrator’s long career and the chance to relive fond childhood memories.

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