Ikon Gallery

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Ikon Gallery in Birmingham presents contemporary art. It is located in Brindleyplace in Grade II listed building. The Ikon Gallery is opened every day except Monday (not Bank Holiday Mondays).

The gallery was established in 1965 to encourage people to engage in contemporary art. It was founded by Angus Skene and four artists from the Birmingham School of Art – David Prentice, Sylvani Merilion, Jesse Bruton and Robert Groves. Originally, it was supposed to be “gallery without wall” exhibiting in places such as cinemas or post offices. Eventually, in 1965, it was established as an octagonal glass walled kiosk in Bull Ring shopping centre. The name was created by Groves, who was interested in icons of the Eastern Orthodox Church.

The gallery had moved several times before it came to its current place (in 1968 to a former mortuary in Swallow Street, in 1978 to a former carpet warehouse in John Bright Street). In 1997 the Ikon Gallery’s permanent home became a building in Brindlayplace. This neo-gothic building had been designed in 1877 and it originally was Oozells Street Broad School. Levitt Bernstein was responsible for the refurbishment (the tower had been demolished in 1960s). Café Ikon, on the ground floor, was designed by Birmingham-based architects The Space Studio was opened in December 1998. In July 2006, it opened a second site in Digbeth - Ikon Eastside.

The artwork it presents on two floors of the building is of all media forms – sound, film, mixed media, sculpture and photography, paintings and installation. The exhibitions rotate throughout the year. There is also an off-site programme which helps develop dynamic relationships between art, artists and the audience outside the gallery. Education is at the heart of Ikon’s activities, stimulating public interest in and understanding of contemporary visual art.

Ikon is a limited company registered as an educational charity (it receives funding from Arts Council England West Midlands and Birmingham City Council and raises additional income from a variety of sources - charitable trusts, foundations and corporate sponsorship).
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