Image credit: Ronan Hughes (Regional Director, GRAHAM), Rob Valentine (Director for Birmingham at Bruntwood Works), Cheryl Jones (Director, Grand Union), Antia Bhalla (Board Director for Creative Industries and Culture at GBSLEP) inside of Grade II listed building Junction Works. Photograph by David Rowan.

Birmingham art gallery and artist studios complex Grand Union is beginning the transformation of Junction Works, a Grade II listed building on Fazeley Street, Digbeth.

The first phase of works, starting this summer, will renovate the front part of the building, creating four new office suites for regional creative sector businesses by the beginning of 2022. Homes England has been working closely with Grand Union to pump prime this project. It will eventually see the charity’s gallery and artist studios relocate from their current home in Minerva Works.

Junction Works, a beautiful mid-nineteenth century building, is located in the Warwick Bar conservation area, at the junction of the Grand Union and Digbeth Branch canals. It has been empty for several years after suffering fire damage in 2004.

Grand Union’s fundraising campaign, with a target of £2.6m to undertake Phase Two works, will see the opening of a brand-new public gallery space, cafe, events space and artists’ studios in this stunning heritage building.

Grand Union opened in its current site in 2010, providing much needed high quality, affordable workspace for artists and a public gallery that has built an international reputation for presenting cutting edge contemporary art and supporting artists at pivotal points in their careers. Last year it hosted Jamie Crewe’s exhibition Love & Solidarity, for which the artist received a Turner Prize Bursary in 2020. Grand Union’s Programme Director Kim McAleese has been part of the panel of judges for the 2021 iteration of The Turner Prize launching at The Herbert Gallery, Coventry later this year. Grand Union also has an innovative approach to working collaboratively with communities in the city. They have recently launched a mini documentary about The Growing Project, a community-led growing scheme bringing artists and people who are vulnerably housed to transform unloved spaces into active shared gardens.

Grand Union’s Director, Cheryl Jones said:
This is such an exciting development for our capital project, which will transform our organisation and the opportunities we can offer to people to experience, connect with and create visual art. Collaboration is key to our work at Grand Union and so we are delighted to be working with GBSLEP and so many brilliant businesses in the city’s property sector on this project. Their generous investment and support mean we can begin to create a sustainable organisation that is able to provide inclusive cultural activity long into the future. In addition we are proud to be bringing an historically significant and beautiful building like Junction Works back to life.”

Find out more about the capital project here.


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