The Birmingham ArtsFest is an annual festival that features the best in arts and entertainment that the West Midlands have to offer. This festival was inspired by the UitMarkt festival in Amsterdam. It was first held in 1998 with the purpose of showcasing the local artists' work and brings international attention to these talents.
ArtsFest is collaboration between the Birmingham City Council and Audience Central, a research agency dedicated to promoting and improving people's participation in the West Midlands' arts scene. In 2005 however, the Birmingham City Council started organizing the festival on its own.
The celebrations primarily take place at Centenary Square but activities are also held at Victoria Square, Custard Factory, Brindleyplace and Chamberlain Square.
The 2007 festival highlights are the giant air sculpture and an Arts Village. The air sculpture, called the Luminarium is a gigantic construction of tunnels and domes that can be explored by visitors. The Visual Arts Village features a wide array of artistic creations ranging from print-making to sculpture.
Activities are varied depending on which cluster area you are visiting. The areas and their respective events for the 2007 festival are as follows:
Centenary Square - in Centenary Square, featured performances are:
- Painting on the Railings where local artists sold affordable artwork to visitors.
- Drum voice orchestra and kiss the ceiling accapella singers. This is where performances from African orchestra and an accapella group make the celebrations even more festive.
- Acrobatic arts performances
- The Birmingham St. Patrick's Festival
- Performance from the Birmingham Young Voices choir.
Chamberlain and Victoria Square Cluster - In this cluster you can witness the following:
- A comedy performance at the Custard Balti Comedy Club
- A singing workshop at the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery.
- A dance performance showcasing an eclectic mix of dance styles presented by the Windsor Dance company.
- A drama performance and a presentation featuring a combination of World music and poetry.
Brindleyplace Cluster - The Brindley Place cluster events included:
- A children's street dance performance based on "High School Musical."
- A fun carnival workshop where visitors could learn mask-making and such similar activities.
- A family-oriented and hands-on activities centered on a carnival theme.
- A fashion show held at the Brindleyplace fountain.
Rep Cluster and CBSO Cluster - Activities in this area includes:
- A workshop on t-shirt printing and badge-making.
- A den-making activity where kids can make their own hideouts.
- A songwriting workshop, storytelling, poetry and musical activities for children.
- A Jazz-Latin performance
- The Make your Mark with Art event, where visitors are asked to help make artwork to raise funds for charity.
St. Martin's and Eastside Cluster - The St. Martin and Eastside cluster featured events such as:
- The revitalization of oral traditions through storytelling
- A steelpans musical performance backed by Caribbean dancers doing street dance.
- An exhibit of clay sculpture and a clay workshop.
- The Festival of Extreme Building where a display of experimental buildings were showcased.
A street theater festival was also another highlight of the 2007 ArtsFest where performances and activities ranging from walkabout characters to circus troupe shows were featured.latin music video