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Ken’s boost for local arts scene

Posted on June 29 2014 at 12:37:33

Jim Simpson

A new arts initiative founded by an Alvechurch resident is set to bring a host of exciting events to the local area.

Apollo Community Arts is the brainchild of Ken Banks, who has many years of experience as an arts consultant in the Midlands cultural scene.

“Alvechurch already has plenty of arts events going on, and I want to boost this by offering more opportunities for local people to perform and collaborate, and helping to promote events,” says Ken.

He says he has more than 30 events in the pipeline for the coming months, the first of which is a unique photographic exhibition at Alvechurch Library.

Jim Simpson, a music photographer and the original manager of Black Sabbath, is showing off his collection of rare photographs of artists such as Mick Jagger, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Little Richard, snapped during their visits to the Midlands.

Many of the pictures have not been seen for more than 40 years.

Jim (pictured above) will open the exhibition on Saturday July 5 at 12pm, when he will be joined by Alvechurch Community Choir singing a medley of 1960s songs – this is an example of how Ken plans to facilitate collaboration between various arts groups.

Ken has also pulled off something of a coup for Alvechurch, by bringing the Birmingham International Jazz & Blues Festival to the village.

On Saturday July 26, British blues legends Bob Hall and Dave Peabody, who have made four acclaimed albums together and worked with artists such as Howlin’  Wolf, Chuck Berry and Charlie Musselwhite, will perform in the Village Hall – supported, according to Ken’s ethos, by local bands.

The gig begins at 7.30pm and £5 tickets can be bought at Hopwood Garden Centre.

Ken also has big plans for a diverse Alvechurch Arts Festival, with something to suit all ages and tastes: “People from all walks of life can participate in the arts if they get the chance to express themselves,” he says.

Find out more about Apollo Community Arts at

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