Big as a Bus! Solihull's Art in the Heart eases those lockdown blues - The Solihull Observer
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19th Aug, 2022

Big as a Bus! Solihull's Art in the Heart eases those lockdown blues

Ross Crawford 21st Mar, 2021

‘A LIGHT bulb moment’ that led to a Solihull couple packing in their jobs and devoting themselves to bringing art to the community has put them in line for a top award.

Kamaljit Suman and Mukesh Kumar of Art at the Heart CIC and fellow director Angela Furio are finalists in the Club Hub Awards in the Lockdown Achievement category.

And that’s not all: Their National Lottery funded community wellbeing project last year, Big As A Bus, was nominated for a Queen’s Award for Voluntary Services and they’ve also received a ‘Solihull Says Thank You’ Civic Award.

Working on the themes of combating inequality, building resilience and self esteem – as well as experimenting fearlessly – the enterprise has built up a devoted following.

Now they’re working on an initiative to tackle loneliness and connect people with Solihull Libraries, The Core Theatre and Solihull’s Reading Friends programme.

“We both come from an arts in education background and for the past 30 years we’ve been teaching children through art,” said Kamaljit.

“Quite often at 16 young people are carrying so much baggage and we thought what if we could get to them when they’re a bit younger.”

That was back in 2015 leading to the creation of Art in the Heart community interest company.

“We have been running it and funding it ourselves. For the first year we didn’t take a salary and not much for the next couple of years either,” said Kamaljit.

“Then we got some Arts Council funding, which was fabulous recognition, then National Lottery funding for our ‘Big as a Bus’ project which was literally to make artwork as big as a bus, which will be exhibited in Solihull.”

Art in the Heart also runs art classes and free art workshops, bookable through The Core Theatre.

In the meantime Kamaljit says they are working on an origami project with a mission to decorate the windows of Olton Library.

For more information on Art in the Heart CIC visit https://www.artattheheartcic.org/

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