Our cultural teams have been hard at it on a fabulous range of arts projects over the last month. The beginning of June brought a taste of Latin America through PINTA London, Europe’s only Latin American contemporary art fair, which took place at Earls Court. It’s the third time we’ve worked with the show, which is an eclectic mix of painting, sculpture and design by artists from across Latin America, Spain and Portugal. A buzzing launch party, attended by the great and the good of the art world, as well as by Mark Francis of Made in Chelsea, kicked off a week of events with such big names as Whitechapel’s Iwona Blazwick and the Serpentine Gallery’s Hans-Ulrich Obrist.
June also saw the launch of Sculpture in the City 2013, the third time that the City of London has organised a major public art exhibition within the Square Mile. Artists who were featured include Antony Gormley, Richard Wentworth, Shirazeh Houshiary, Ryan Gander and Jake & Dinos Chapman, whose dinosaurs at the base of the Gherkin got the city worker chatter going!
Hot on the heels of the first ever Tate exhibition of Lowry’s work, we’ve been working with The Lowry in Salford on their own exhibition, Unseen Lowry. The exhibition which features over 100 works which have never been seen in public before, shows another, darker side to the artist and his output. The exhibition has caught the media attention, kicking off with a double paged spread in The Telegraph the weekend before opening.
Our final arts project this month focusses on art that is well over 1000 years old. The Lindisfarne Gospels, one of the most important works of European art from the first millennium, and the pocket-sized St Cuthbert Gospel, Europe’s oldest known surviving bound book, were made about 1,300 years ago but, despite their age, both are still in beautiful condition. Next Monday they will go on display for the first time since the early 1100s in Durham University’s Palace Green Library. A sapphire ring linked to St Cuthbert and various other artefacts including a jewelled cross, will also go on show.
The campaigning team has been every bit as busy. Earlier this month they launched a celebratory book published to mark the 40th anniversary of Beanstalk, the children’s literacy campaign. Jack and the Beanstalk and other Beany Stories, Poems and Jokes is a collection of especially commissioned stories by children’s authors and illustrators – including Horrid Henry author Francesca Simon – to help children who have fallen behind with their reading. The chapters, along with supporting teaching resources, will also be available for teachers, youth workers, parents and children to download from the Beanstalk website.
Beanstalk published 16,000 copies of the book which was given free of charge to every child the charity has helped this year, as well as to their Beanstalk reading helpers and schools for their school libraries.US bookseller Barnes & Noble also made the eBook version available free on the 1,000 NOOK Simple Touch eReaders that were donated to Beanstalk reading helpers through its partnership with the Get London Reading campaign.
Another significant charity with whom we have started to work is Smile Train, the world’s largest cleft lip and palate not for profit organisation, which has been selected as the charity partner to perform the coin toss at the Gentlemen’s Singles final at this year’s Wimbledon. 11-year-old Pinki Sonkar, who is one of the charity’s best known patients, will travel from her native village in India to London to perform the coin toss on behalf of Smile Train at the match on Sunday 7 July. Look out for posters throughout London, and in particular in the Wimbledon area, to reinforce Smile Train’s important message. Every single child with a cleft can be helped with surgery that costs as little as £150 and only takes 45 minutes.
The team also issued a call to action to level the playing field in graduate recruitment on behalf of our long standing client AGR (Association of Graduate Recruiters) and organised a half day conference on youth substance abuse for client Action on Addiction.
Finally the campaigning team once again travelled West to Cheltenham for The Times Cheltenham Science Festival. This year’s festival saw record ticket sales and over six days gave the public a rare opportunity to come face-to-face with around 300 of the world’s leading scientists and thinkers including Peter Higgs and James Watson.
Next month looks equally packed with events. Look out for both RHS Hampton Court at the beginning of July and RHS Tatton Park towards the end. And at about that time, we will be announcing the ‘Man Booker Dozen’, the 12 or 13 books which have been chosen by the 2013 panel of judges as contenders for the 2013 Man Booker Prize for Fiction.
Until next month..