The Art of Story

The art of story – summer programme at The Public

An exciting series of exhibitions encourages visitors to step inside a story this summer.

PeepoArt of Story – a fascinating series of exhibitions inspired by stories and story-telling comes to The Public this summer.

From 6 July to 18 September, the West Bromwich venue will be exploring the wonderful world of the story in a series of projects, interactive works and themed activities and workshops.

Over the last few months, Sandwell school children have worked with a collection of artists – taking inspiration from local best selling author Allan Ahlberg (who grew up and worked as a school teacher in Oldbury) and; together with his illustrator wife Janet, created hugely popular books which have delighted children across the world.

The project, produced by local arts organisations Multistory and Black Country Touring in association with The Public, has seen the children respond to Ahlberg’s work, using themes and images from his books to create modern day interpretations.  The artists involved in the project, Emma Purshouse, Johnny O’Hanlon, Claude Chambers, Sakab Bashir, John Flitcroft, Heather Wastie and Jonathan Lee have used poetry, images and film to celebrate the young talent from the region, using the work of the famous author as inspiration.

The work will be displayed in the West Bromwich arts centre throughout the summer alongside a series of inspiring and exciting artworks detailed below:

Sandwell Steps

Much of Ahlberg’s early work centered around his childhood upbringing in 1950’s Oldbury.

Using this theme, renowned Birmingham theatre company Stan’s Café will be inviting people to follow vinyl footprints around the building to explore the imagination of a 1950’s Sandwell boy as his young mind conjures up stories and creations to amuse and delight visitors.

Short Films

Short films including the 1940’s ‘Town Sparrows ‘by Frank Waterman set in Oldbury, and ‘Town Hall’ and ‘Who Killed Brown Owl’ by the award-winning Desperate Optimists will be shown daily throughout the course of the exhibition.

Sandwell Libraries

In a project led by Sandwell Libraries, visitors to The Public will be encouraged to get creative by illustrating their own stories.  With a host of prizes on offer for the most fun and imaginative including a Kindle and book tokens, the stories will be displayed throughout the building during the summer months.

Workshops and Activities

Throughout the summer break, there’s something for all ages to enjoy, including the weekly themed Summer Holiday Art Club, the Draw-Bot Derby, an opportunity to make your own pinhole camera and take part in a free DJ workshop!

Linda Saunders, Managing Director of The Public said, “In August, The Public will have been fully open for two whole years and over that time has welcomed over 250,000 visitors who have come to explore, get creative, be entertained and have fun.  Our summer exhibition programme is a key part of what we offer and we know that the new Art of Story exhibition will delight and encourage visitors of all ages to explore the magic and excitement behind stories.  We’re proud to be working with some great partners to deliver this exhibition and look forward to welcoming visitors over the course of the summer.”

The Art of Story will be at The Public from 6 July until 18 September: Wednesday to Saturday, 10am – 5pm, Sunday, 11pm – 3pm.  Throughout the summer holidays (23 July to 4 September) The Public will be open daily.  Entry is free.

For more information about exhibitions at The Public visit or call 0121 533 7161.