Martin Green. Distracted Anecdote, Stryx, Birmingham.

From 6 to 22 October this year Coventry will see its first Biennial of Contemporary Art. Annabel Clarke caught up with Ryan Hughes, Director of the Coventry Biennial of Contemporary Art and lead artist at Office for Art, Design and Technology to hear more about his plans for the Biennial, and their current crowdfunding campaign.

Why did you decide to organise an Biennial? Why now?

Coventry is a city undergoing significant change and redevelopment. The City Council has recently published an exciting new stratergy for cultural provision to be delivered over a 10 year time frame and there is a high profile bid to become the UK City of Culture for 2021.

There is a really strong performance scene in the city which is led by organisations such as Talking Birds, Shop Front Theatre and Shoot Festival. The city also has a growing visual arts scene with activity regually being delivered by Coventry Artspace and their City Arcadia Gallery as well as other inititives such as Matthew Macaulay‘s Class Room Project Space and The Pod / Collective‘s Coventry Centre for Contemporary Art, housed in a shed designed by Bob and Roberta Smith.

This seems to be the perfect conditions for producing something ambitious, large scale and which can really drive the visual arts for the region. The Biennial form seems most useful for doing that.

Jonathan Baldock. Mask, Glass Box, Coventry.

What should people expect? Are there any aspects that have been confirmed already? Which venues will you be using?

People should expect a city wide, high profile, ambitious and exciting range of exhibitions and events by artists from the city, wider region and from around the world.

The Biennial’s programme is around 75% complete, at this stage, ahead of completing our fundraising campaign and totally confirming our partners. I’m not at liberty to divulge what that programme looks like as things might change. However, there will be several solo exhibitions in addition to many group exhibitions and a large range of parties, talks, symposiums and other activities. All this being said, there are several clues around our programming appearing on our Instagram.

The Biennial will be occupying galleries, studio buildings and public spaces around the city. We’ve also been viewing large, disused and unusual spaces which will be hosting a large portion of our exhibitions and events creating the opportunity for audiences to experience Coventry in a way they wouldn’t ordinarily be able to.

Natalie Seymour. Coalesce, City Arcadia Gallery, Coventry.

You are currently crowdfunding to work with more artists for the Biennial. Why should we donate?

By donating to our Kickstarter page you will be directly supporting artists working in the region. You will also be putting the Biennial into a stronger position as we are approaching other funding bodies, the donations will be used as match funding and will show that there is significant interest in this Biennial happening at local and regional levels.

You can also receive some fantastic rewards by pledging to support us such as limited edition prints, publications or even a private dinner party!

The Kickstarter to support the Biennial runs until Wednesday 26 April. It can be supported here.

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