One of the most multicultural, vibrant and diverse cities in Europe. We are a city of innovation, invention and imagination and we are very proud of it.
Now ranked as one of the best places to live in the world, above Los Angeles, Dubai and Hong Kong, we are an exciting and growing European city with many cultural gems to be found for those wishing to discover a perfect fusion of old and new.
Arguably we now have one of the best food scenes in the country, being the host of more Michelin starred restaurants than any other city outside of the capital. Take a walk along the back streets of Digbeth - Birmingham’s old industrial area, and you will find vistas similar to those found in Eastern Berlin. Nestled amongst the large disused factories that were once the powerhouse’s of the Industrial Revolution and you will find part of Birmingham’s creative underbelly and the home of Digbeth Dining Club, an award winning street food event serving up what has been voted ‘the best street food in the UK’.
But not only has the diversity of Birmingham’s population resulted in wonderful fusion of food but also in music.
As a city, we have an incredibly rich tapestry of musical talent, being the birth place of bands and artists such as UB40, Steel Pulse, Led Zeppelin, The Streets, Ocean Colour Scene and Black Sabbath as well as the stomping ground of some of the finest DJ’s and producers like Alexander Nut, Adam Shelton, Mark E, Actress, Kaidi Tatham, Jayson Wynters, Flori, Surgeon and Sandwell District.
Hard working promoters such as; Leftfoot, This is Tmrw, Shadow City, Moodfix, Listening Sessions, Social Underground, Penda, Mercia, Evolve & Project Birmingham as well as events such as Mostly Jazz, Funk & Soul & Beyond The Tracks Festival, continue to bring fresh sounds to the city as well as nurture and encourage acts on a grass roots level. Venues such as the legendary victorian boozer, the Hare & Hounds, encased within its beautiful grade 2 listed walls and art nouveau tiles, continues to raise the bar for live music with its rooms hosting the best international acts on the circuit whilst simulatniously supporting and providing a platform for the very best local musicians.
The Rainbow Venues are one of the key driving forces behind Birmingham's electronic music scene and a major player in Digbeth's regeneration. They have converted a once dormant industrial area into a vibrant international hotspot for dance music. Now operating over 10 separate units, converting many from disused warehouses to some of the worlds best club venues.
Another thing that may come as a surprise is the calibre of our arts scene. At the heart of our city is the internationally renowned IKON gallery. Formed in 1964 and housed within a stunning former neo-gothic school building the gallery has long served the city in tirelessly transporting the work of the most prestigious, internationally acclaimed artists right to the heart of our city. It's an institution that we should be very proud of.
With property prices continuing to soar in the south, more and more young people are choosing to make Birmingham their home. Subsequently we have become one of the youngest cities in Europe, with under 25’s now accounting for nearly 40% of our population. As a result we are seeing exciting new waves of artistic and creative talent. Birmingham based artists Alex Boardman Rhys, Emily Sparkes, photographer Tom Bird & street artist IMBUE are at the heart of this new community and are not falling short of praise, both on a national and international level.
Café Artum - The Concept
Now you might be wondering what this is all about? We’ve given Birmingham the ‘biggun’, but what is our project?
The project is ‘Café Artum’. A vibrant creative hub based in the heart of the city centre in one of its most beautiful buildings. A space supporting Birmingham’s flourishing creative community, operating not only as an artisan café but also as a vinyl record shop and art space.
We want to bring back the enjoyment of finding new music and reignite the relationship people have with their records and with music in general. We wish to encourage people to have actual human interaction, where finding music is a discussion and not just a click on YouTube.
Customers will be able to sit, listen and buy from an extensive and eclectic mix of new and old vinyl records from around the world. Their imaginations stirred by an assortment of music from the best in New Orleans Funk and Soul to rare Afro. A selection of the best in techno, house and electronic will be curated and hand picked by a collective of familiar faces on the international DJ circuit, based within Birmingham.
We wish to pay tribute to the record shops that were sadly lost during the early 2000’s (Tempest, Reddingtons & The Music Exchange to name but a few) and give a new lease of life to the cities record-digging scene and bolster what is valiantly kept alive by the remaining shops, The Diskery, Swordfish and Polar Bear.
With a team that includes well-known DJ’s, music connoisseurs and serial record collectors, we have extensive experience and knowledge of music and records, meaning you will be able to find records in store that you might not come across online.
Many people say that the connection between art and sound is intrinsic. Café Artum will provide a platform for both established and emerging artists to exhibit and sell their artwork side by side in store, with both prints and originals available at a variety of price points. Meaning you won’t have to break the bank to take home a piece of incredible artwork.
A refined selection of local produce with a focus on good seasonal ingredients.
We will be operating a very special Italian espresso machine, not seen anywhere else in the city. Golden shots of the highest quality, locally roasted espresso will be hand pulled using a spring levered handle, producing the best possible coffee. Inherently silent, it will avoid unnecessary noise and distraction from the music playing in store. For those who prefer something other than coffee, a range of fair trade and sustainable loose-leaf tea will be available as well as organic juices and soft drinks.
We will be serving up a refined selection of wholesome homemade sandwiches as well as a selection of healthy and flavoursome Lebanese dishes, including big bowls of salads such as Tabbouleh and Baba Ghanoush as well as freshly made Hummus, Shawarma wraps and heavenly Baklava pastries.
The shop is to be based within the confines of one of Birmingham’s most beautiful buildings.
We are incredibly humble to have obtained a very beautiful Victorian Grade II listed building in the heart of the city centre as the home of our concept. We will be retaining all the beautiful period features of the building whilst shaping the interior of the shop. All fittings and furnishings will be handmade including a series of one off pieces of furniture. As you can see from the pictures we have a large glass frontage which should help to pour in natural light. We plan to use natural materials and plan to have lots of greenery in the form of hanging and floor plants.
As if that wasn’t enough the café will host regular events such as instore DJ sets, live music, spoken word and art house cinema evenings. We want to provide a platform, not only for artists to exhibit their work, but also a space for emerging musicians to perform.
Who's behind it?
Before you commit to donating to our cause, it's important for you to know who is behind the project.
We are a team of avid record collectors, foodies and internationally recognised names in the electronic music industry whose roots are based in the city. Together we have extensive knowledge which spans music, records, art and food/drink. All the ingredients we believe will make this project a success.
Spearheading the project is myself, Christy. Now aged 26, I first studied Law at university, but like many others later realised my interests laid elsewhere. I've since worked within both Birmingham's fine dining and cafe scene for the last 6 years. I am now based at the Hare and Hounds in Kings Heath as well as Peel & Stone in Harborne.
Growing up with a jazz pianist grandfather, jazz vocalist mother and vinyl crazy father, it was easy for my passion and hobby in life to gravitate towards music. It's been an ambition of mine to open a concept such as this for a very long time. Now with some real life experience behind me and a solid team, I feel prepared.
Where will your contributions go?
As you can see from the picture above we need significant investment in the fitting of the shop including stock of records, machinery, building work, planning applications, toilet installation, sound equipment, point of sale equipment and a fully functioning website. Along with our own investment of £15,000, the money raised from the Kickstarter is the bare minimum we need to physically open our doors.
As much as the money donated will go towards funding our opening, we hope that it will also encourage more independent business to open up shop in our wonderful city and help turn our streets into more interesting and creative places, not just lined with those all too familiar high street brands.
We've collaborated with some of Birmingham's best artists, musicians, venues and promoters to offer some very exclusive rewards.
- Dine In The Wilderness
- Tom Bird - Library Demolition A4 (Edition of 20)
- Tom Bird - Library Demolition A3 (Edition of 20)
- Alexander Rhys - Daydreamer A4 (Edition of 20)
- Eglo Records Bundle
- Axe On Wax Bundle
Risks and challenges
Like all new businesses there’s always certain level of risk…
Tight budgets and restricted finance makes projects like this one a challenge, but we've done the calculations, done the research to gauge interest and we're sure this will work.
This isn’t a high profit business, we’re doing this out of passion. Not just our passion of music, art and cafe culture, but in wanting to bring something we feel is missing in the city.
As an independent business our finances are very limited. We are calling on the people of our city as well as those outside who would like to visit, to join us in making this project a reality and to help us open our doors.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (28 days)