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Social Saturday Event: Free Drop-in Taster Session

Beat It Percussion CIC is a small Community Interest Company, which aims to bring hands-on drumming activities to people in the community, through the interactive nature of their work people are not just being entertained, but are experiencing real, measurable benefits in their well-being as well as doing something active and great fun.

Beat It Percussion via Drumming Together is coming to Sandwell to offer a free drop-in taster session (everyone welcome) on:

Friday 13th October 2017 from 12.30pm till 2.30pm at Jubilee Park Community Centre, Powys Avenue, Tipton, DY4 0RJ.

Come and meet us, play on some drums and find out about our brand new project coming to Sandwell. This taster session celebrates Social Saturday, a nationwide day of events and activities to celebrate the nation’s booming social enterprise sector.

Drumming Together workshops are multi-sensory music sessions for older people. They are dementia-friendly and promote well-being.

In the workshops you will:
• Try something new in a supportive environment
• Make friends and share laughter
• Play on real instruments (no musical knowledge needed)
• Use drums to ‘talk’ in new ways

After building up our venture in Herefordshire and mid-Wales we are excited to be expanding into Sandwell. Details of our new Drumming Together programme starting in November are soon to be released so watch this space.

To find out more or to register your interest please email us on or visit our website at


The Art Yard – Call for Artists

The Art Yard would like to invite local arts to register their interest in being apart of their Open Media Exhibition. This is an opportunity for the artist to showcase their work regardless of the medium (i.e. paint, photography, ceramics, sculpture, film metalwork, crafts and much more).

Artists should complete the enclosed Submission form. Listing all works you would like to exhibit stating. Media, size and selling price, please include any digital images of each work. Fees are to be paid when delivering your works.

For more details see the links below:

• Cover letter
 Submission Form – to be completed and returned via email by 6th October 2017

We very much look forward to seeing your work and hope you enjoy what we believe will be a successful and exciting Exhibition.

For more information or to submit your completed form please email The Art Yard directly at or call 01384910968.

Spotlight on Midland Film and Art

1. Tell us what you do.
Midland Film and Art (MFAA) was established 2014 with the aim of advancing the education, understanding and appreciation of all aspects of art, film, craft and allied techniques.

In August 2017 MFAA took on The Art Yard in Reddal Hill Road, Cradley Heath; with a view of improving public access to art and creating three distinct multi-purpose art and craft galleries.

Our first monthly exhibitions commenced in September 2017 showcasing the work of local artists and others. MFAA’s exhibitors demonstrated a wide range of skills, abilities and experiences all adding to the eclectic mix we are keen to encourage.

MFAA relies on volunteers to run the galleries during normal weekly shopping hours and plans are underway to introduce Life Drawing and painting classes led by former college tutors and experienced professional artists.

2. What is your proudest achievement?
Our proudest achievement to date is that by using funds donated by Cradley Heath Film, MFAA members and sponsors, together with volunteer time, the demise of The Art Yard was prevented and the premises refurbished, access to art increased and the first pubic exhibition was opened within one month of MFAA taking over the premises.

The anecdotal evidence from visitors and exhibitors alike is that The Art Yard is a welcome facility that is providing new life within the surrounding community and a much required outlet for artists to publicly showcase their work.

3. What is your experience of support received from SCVO?
The Art Yard is new to SCVO and what it however, SCVO have been extremely interested in what The Art Yard can offer within the community and have agreed where possible to help MFAA going forward.

4. What is the most valuable lesson you have learnt about working with people in Sandwell?
The most valuable lessons MFAA has learned is that Sandwell is made up of one of the most diverse blends of communities in the West Midlands which taps into and maintains links with a wide range of arts and crafts that emanate from such a diverse range of people from all walks of life.

5. What are your plans for the future and some of the challenges you face?
Moving forward, MFAA intends to ensure that The Art Yard remains financially independent of its patrons’ support.

6. How can SCVO help to support your organisation in the future?
MFAA (at The Art Yard) would welcome any support SCVO can provide to help move the project forward; help obtain resources; assist in promoting The Art Yard to the wider public and help to establish the organisation within Sandwell’s communities.

If you are interested in exhibiting in the Art Yard  please refer to our e-bulletin post entitled ‘The Art Yard – Call for Artists’ or would like further information on how you can get involved at the Art Yard please email Warren at

Volunteers wanted to take part in a public art project

Creative Black Country is looking for volunteers to be part of the Joke Exchange at the Funny Things Festival, by holding up placards that tell jokes that have been collected from the people of Wolverhampton.

The Joke Exchange is a public art project by Redhawk Logistica, commissioned by Creative Black Country as part of the Funny Things Festival, a new comedy festival for Wolverhampton and the Black Country which takes place on 23 October to 7 November, in venues across Wolverhampton.

There are plenty of other opportunities to volunteer to be part of the Funny Things Festival, handing out flyers during the month before the festival, stewarding events and supporting participatory activities. All volunteers will get their travel expenses covered and get the opportunity to attend events for free or at special reduced ticket prices during the festival.

Click here to find out more and to sign-up to be a volunteer.


#100Masters – Express and Star Collaboration

Creative Black Country in collaboration with The Express and Star have printed their second article showcasing local talent within the Black Country as part of the 100 Masters Project; an arts campaign to identify contemporary skilled people from the Black Country  and help inspire future talent.

The Black Country was forged at the hands of men and women from all walks of life who had honed their skills to the highest levels. It was through their craftsmanship and diligence that the region became renowned as the industrial heartland of the UK. 100 Masters aims to inspire and offer local people a fresh perspective about the strengths, skills, talent and expertise surfacing from their own locality and community.

The feature concentrates on four of Creative Black Country nominated masters; award-winning cactus breeder Stan Griffin, master of typography John Neave, the UK’s first Breakdancing B-girl Hanifa McQueen Hudson and amazing animator Drew Roper.

To use, simply download the ‘Layar’ app on your smart device; open the app and let it access the camera on your phone; hold the phone 15-20cm above the anvil image on the front of the postcard and then tap the screen to scan. You won’t believe your eyes as video’s and images dance across the page.

“This is what the future of media looks like and, as ever, the Black Country are leading the way in revolutionising the way we make, see and do things.”

The 100 Masters project is now closed for nominations however, the Masters nominated are currently being shortlisted with official announcements to following towards the end of July 2017.


Beat It Percussion CIC: PRIME Cymru Growth Business Award

Social enterprise, Beat It Percussion CIC is delighted to have been shortlisted for PRIME Cymru’s Growth Business Award. Their mission is ‘to improve people’s lives through the medium of group music activities. Through our workshops people experience physical and cognitive skills, gain confidence and experience social inclusion.

Based in Herefordshire Beat It is establishing a presence in the West Midlands and is currently delivering taster sessions across Sandwell. Beat It Percussion runs Dementia-friendly sessions for older adults at community settings and exciting new projects are in the pipeline. Over the last year, Beat It Percussion has grown significantly in turnover and scope and has recently recruited and trained a team of local volunteers and a new music practitioner. The organisation also works across the border in Wales hence the connection with PRIME Cymru.

PRIME Cymru (the Prince’s Initiative for Mature Enterprise in Wales) is the Prince of Wales’s charity that supports people over the age of 50 to start their own business or find employment.

‘’PRIME Cymru supports such a wide range of fantastic businesses and the Awards give us the opportunity to celebrate them and to thank them and our mentors for all the hard work they do,” said David Pugh, Chief Executive, PRIME Cymru. The Awards categories for 2017 are:  New Business, Growth Business, Green Business and Mentor of the Year. The results will be announced on 11th July.

Lynn Kay, Beat It’s CEO says ‘’Being shortlisted for this award is significant because it recognises not only my work but also the great effort put in by Beat It’s Directors, volunteers and practitioners who have all been instrumental in our success over the last year. Older people often face loneliness and isolation. Drumming Together gives people the chance to come together to play drums, chat and enjoy mental and physical exercises which are really good for retaining skills and flexibility. This programme is becoming recognised as a significant development in supporting people who are at the early stages of dementia.’’

To find out more please contact Lynn at Beat It Percussion on 07875 090946 or via email at

Life’s A Beach: A taste of the British seaside in three caravans

Perilous donkey rides on the beach and rainy days spent shoving pennies in to the bandits at glitzy arcades, fairground dodgems and cheap kiss me quick hats are all memories from the great British seaside holiday. It may have been relegated to the bottom of the list thanks to cheap overseas flights but for those of us born in the 60s, 70s and 80s, the annual summer getaway to the coast was likely our first fleeting glimpse of the delightful seaside.

Now a project by Black Country Touring, in partnership with SO Festival supported by Creative Black Country and Magna Vitae, explores memories of these trips in a brand new show premiering in East Lincolnshire during July. Life’s a Beach will feature the stories captured from holidaymakers, residents and day trippers to the seaside produced from interviews with people of the Black Country and Skegness. Each story will be presented in three specially converted caravans to capture those special memories.

“We’ve interviewed a broad range of people from very different backgrounds across the Black Country and Skegness and heard some beautiful, funny, sad and heartwarming stories.” Comments Co Director Frances Land. “We have used these to create three very different short performances lasting up to twenty minutes each which will transport our audiences to the wonderful and eccentric world of our British seaside towns.”

Enter a caravan and be transported to a seafront arcade. Pulsing neon and filled with sounds of the slots and bingo. Your caller clad in his Elvis outfit, tells stories of moving to this town “so every day can be a holiday”, whilst his assistant dreams of singing and dazzling the audience with her voice.

Experience the caravan from hell. It’s raining outside, there’s nothing to do but explore the tell-tale signs of the previous visitors; what lurks in the cupboards is anyone’s guess – the terrifying seagull with a beak like a razor, the tiny yellow wellies that hide a sad story and the beautifully sorrowful captured mermaid.

Finally, meet true local heroes – the lifeboat crew. Take your place at the sea’s edge and stare into the oily black water, following the light that searches the sea. Their stories, both funny and tragic, fill the space between.

Told via songs and sea shanties, shadow and hand puppetry, plenty of laughs and a touch of pathos this unique set of performances brings the seaside to life.

The Black Country may be the furthest region from the sea but we invite you to join us for a short trip down the road to hear memories of those bygone visits when the seaside comes to Wolverhampton and Bearwood for one month this summer.

Life’s A Beach Dates:

Bantock House Museum & Park
Finchfield Road, Wolverhampton WV3 9LQ – 7, 8, 9 July 2017

Lightwood’s House & Park
Adkins Lane, Bearwood B67 5JB – 13, 14, 15, 16 July 2017



Helpers Alert!! Arts Volunteers Needed for Events Throughout July, In Smethwick, Bearwood And Wolverhampton

If you could give us a hand on one or more days we would really enjoy your company, and you’ll get to see some exciting arts events and meet interesting people.

No specific skills are required; you will be shown exactly what you need to do. Jobs will include things like showing people to their seats and making sure artists and audiences have all they need to enjoy the event.

Dates are:
July 7, 8 and 9 for the fabulous play ‘Life’s a Beach’ in Wolverhampton
July 13, 14, 15 and 16 for ‘Life’s a Beach’ in Bearwood

There are shows all day, so we need volunteers from 9.30am to 7.30pm – but you can do just part of the day if that suits you better.

Get in touch with find out more.

Sent on behalf of Black Country Touring and Creative Black Country. More details at

Nominate a Master

Do you know someone with strong links to the Black Country who has mastered a skill, trade or artform? Are they an expert in their field? You can nominate them below for inclusion in the 100 Masters project.

The term ‘mastery’ is characterised by a person having devoted their life to one particular pursuit, whether it be expert knowledge in an artform, trade or profession, and who are held in high esteem by their peers. We are looking to unearth the stories of commitment, refinement and diligence and are asking you to help us by nominating the Masters you know.

You can read the Nomination and Voting Guidelines here.

For more information on the 100 Masters click here.

Closing date for nominations is 30th June 2017.

100 Masters and Express and Star Collaboration

The Express and Star have printed their first article promoting the 100 Masters project and one of our Masters; fashion designer and illustrator Elizabeth Ilsley.

Read the Express and Star 100 Masters article here!

“This is an exciting first, as we have worked in collaboration with the Express and Star, the country’s biggest regional newspaper, to bring artwork into 80,000 households across the West Midlands.” Comments 100 Masters creative producer Liam Smyth.

“The lead artists on 100 Masters, Juneau Projects, have produced special Augmented Reality animations that are triggered by readers viewing the newspaper through their smartphone. This is one of the first non-commercial uses of AR technology in a UK newspaper and an incredible achievement.”

To use, simply download the ‘Layar’ app on your smart device; open the app and let it access the camera on your phone; hold the phone 15-20cm above the anvil image on the front of the postcard and then tap the screen to scan. You won’t believe your eyes as Juneau Project’s beautiful handmade animations dance across the page.

“This is what the future of media looks like and, as ever, the Black Country are leading the way in revolutionising the way we make, see and do things.”

More of Juneau Projects hand-painted animations will be released throughout the campaign.

The 100 Masters project is open to nominations until the end of June.

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