24th & 25th May, 2011
Birmingham International Airport and Colemore Row
Once artists were supported by patrons, wealthy individuals who commissioned work for their own pleasure/aggrandisement/favour with God. Now, with public subsidy of art, the relationship between artist and patron is more complicated and controversial. Now, at a time of severe public spending cuts, services are being asked to justify their cost in the context of a stringent market. How do the arts fit into this equation? What are they expected to contribute to the communities that support them? How do you assess the value of art to a society and measure this against the value of other ‘services’?
On a microcosmic level, how can an individual improve life for the collective whole? What small change can one person effect that touches the lives of many? What if, in this City of a million people, everyone took just one minute each day to tidy, dust, mop or polish a square of communal space. How would our citadel shine then?
Stan’s Cafe has been looking around its home city and spotting small things that could make it a better place. Realizing how easy it would be to step in and take on a few of these little tasks the company is undertaking a series of performances to improve things.
On 24th May the company positioned itself at the Arrivals Gate at Terminal 1 of Birmingham International Airport to provide a warm welcome for visitors and valued citizens returning home.
On 25th May the company will provided a friendly concierge service for the taxi rank at Snow Hill Station during peak periods.
These are the first two in a planed sequence of actions. If you would like to help either by volunteering your time to this project or by submitting your suggestions for future acts of improvement we would be delighted to hear from you.
2017 In the September of 2011, approximately three months after these performances Stan’s Cafe lost all financial support form the City Council – along with the vast majority of smaller arts organisations. In subsequent years, with the City Council almost bankrupt the larger organisations have lost large portions of their subsidy.
Our attention has been focused elsewhere for a while but now we have a new idea. Before too long our mission to, together with you, turn this city in to a glorious citadel will recommence. Watch this space…
Produced by Amber Muller
Photographs Sara Brkic and Graeme Braidwood
Concept: James Yarker with Craig Stephens
Graphics: Simon Ford
Airport Performers: Lucy Nicholls, Rochi Rampal, Kerry Reading, Graeme Rose
Snow Hill Performers: Charlotte Gregory, Graeme Rose