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Blast! arts festival coming to Sandwell after £500k funding secured

A £500,000, six-month arts festival will be held in Sandwell, it has been revealed.

West Bromwich is among the towns involved in the festival
West Bromwich is among the towns involved in the festival

Blast! is part of Arts Council England and provides a programme of photography, digital media and spoken-word performances in public spaces, community venues, pop-up sites and outdoor areas across the borough.

The festival will be developed over the next two years and will run from April to September 2019, with each month celebrating one of Sandwell’s six major towns — Oldbury, Rowley Regis, Smethwick, Tipton, Wednesbury, West Bromwich.

Multistory, a West Bromwich charity that works with artists to make art with people in the borough, has been awarded £417,954 to host the festival following investment from the National Lottery supported by the Ambition for Excellence programme.

Councillor Richard Marshall, cabinet member for leisure, said: “We’ve been pushing and pushing more and more to do more things within the borough at grassroots level so this is brilliant news.

“We’ve been urging the Arts Council to spend more money in the borough and Multistory is one of our best art companies so to get this funding is just fantastic. Money is being brought in for the benefit of the people in Sandwell – it’s just fantastic.”

Student curators, with the support of internationally-recognised artists, will create displays. The project will give 18 artists a chance to have their work commissioned, helping bring the stories of people in Sandwell to life.

Peter Knott, area director of Arts Council England, said: “It will be great to see Blast! festival make a real impact locally and bring stories and experiences to life that showcase emerging and established artists.”

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