Two items of news coinciding reflect the tenor of the times. From Sandwell news that The Public is under threat of closure and from Sheffield, news that Point Blank are to broker more free temporary space in the Midlands.
Despite it’s painful birth we have a strong affection for The Public, we had a great time installing Sandwell Steps there in 2011 and have enjoyed regular visits since, including a great evening watching Bobby Baker. The building is home to many local arts organizations including Black Country Touring and the Learnplay Foundation who have started a lobbying initiative to persuade the local council to retain The Public. You may choose to add your weight behind this and sign their petition.
Point Blank are a resourceful theatre company based in Sheffield who have the happy skill of persuading landlords of empty properties that it would be cost-effective to let artists use them for free. They are the company who brokered the space on Birmingham’s New Street last year which was run by Little Earthquake and next week they are holding an open event Transforming Empty Space: Birmingham Meet on 23rd May at 12:30 in which they will share news of new space coming available for use. So you may choose to go to that.
The important thing to note is that temporary free access to a shop unit given to artists by a landlord as a way of dodging business rates whilst a paying tenant is found does not replace The Public. In order for the arts to thrive they needs proper support not crumbs that fall from a table. I’ll end there before a re-rehearse my rant.