Arts Council England is investing £120,000 to transform Ikon Gallery’s canal boat into a floating arts centre as it sets sail on a three year tour of Ladywood’s canals.

The money comes from the Arts Council’s National Lottery supported Strategic Touring programme, which gives arts and cultural organisations the resources they need to bring great art and culture to more people across England.

Over the next three years, the £120,000 will help Ikon to produce its Looping the Loop tour. This artistic and creative programme will be shaped by local people, helping to create better access to art and culture in the Ladywood district where the gallery is located.

Events will take place on the canal boat and at community and heritage sites along the city’s canal routes, including partnerships with the Centre of the Earth, Kharis Neighbour Scheme, Perrott’s Folly and the Roundhouse.

The Looping the Loop tour will celebrate Ladywood’s past, present and future through exhibitions and workshops, music events and film screenings. It will bring national and international artists to the city and offer opportunities for training and skills development.

Peter Knott, Midlands Area Director, Arts Council England said: “We want to see our Strategic Touring fund creating new ways for people to take part in artistic and cultural experiences where they live. Ikon’s canal boat offers so much potential to help make this happen, which is why we’re investing in this new tour. It will be great to see the boat offering people in Ladywood new opportunities to enjoy contemporary art on their doorstep.”

Ian Hyde, Deputy Director, Ikon said: “We are absolutely delighted to have secured this funding. It will enable us to build on our reputation following Slow Boat and Black Country Voyages for taking contemporary art to communities via the canals and waterways of the West Midlands. Our focus on Ladywood over the coming years is really important to us. We believe that working with residents in our local community, which is one of the most diverse districts in Birmingham, will help support our mission to engage a wide audience with all that we do.”