Staying Cool has always supported the arts since we opened in Birmingham in 2008. However, from May 2018 we made this even more of a focus to mark a decade of success. We organised a series of penthouse events called Creative Heights.
Our launch event featured the live creation of an artwork on the huge glass windows at Rotunda by Birmingham artist Amrit Singh in front of an intrigued audience.
Next came art as food with a lavish feast overlooking the city in a pop-up restaurant from The Wilderness for ten lucky competition winners.
Birmingham’s independent Electric cinema transformed a 20th-floor penthouse into an exclusive venue for a screening of director (and past guest) Ben Wheatley’s cult movie High Rise, starring Tom Hiddleston. The pop-up cinema was a highlight of the Electric’s annual Shock and Gore festival.
In cahoots with BMAG (Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery), we hosted the launch of their new range inspired by the iconic packaging designs of Bird’s Custard. (Bird’s is a historic Birmingham brand and the old factory is now a creative hub for the city called… The Custard Factory)
The Canal House rustled up some delicious custard-themed cocktails too.
Our kitsch Columbo-themed afternoon was a great success. It was hosted by Jenny Hammerton, author of Cooking with Columbo. Guests enjoyed food and drink loved by the famous TV sleuth aka actor Peter Falk and all funds went to local charity Love Brum to help homelessness.
Christmas brought one of our team’s favourite Creative Heights events. We invited families who had fundraised for Birmingham Children’s Hospital to our Santa’s Grotto. The children received presents and rustled up some fantastic Christmassy creations while meeting Father Christmas.
Finally, we hosted our first-ever Writer in Residence in conjunction with Writing West Midlands. Richard O’Brien, Birmingham’s current poet laureate, stayed in one of our serviced apartments for a week writing poetry.
Richard said, “Staying for a week at the Rotunda has been a remarkable experience. Even when you think you know a city, the shift in perspective viewing it all from the eighteenth floor, above the towers and trains, has been unbelievable. I’m so pleased to have been able to kick off my time as Birmingham Poet Laureate with such a panoramic view of life in the city for inspiration.”
We finished off Richard’s residency with a Poetry in the Penthouse event featuring four Birmingham poets.
It was an immense privilege to share our penthouse space with such talented people during Creative Heights. We’ll continue supporting the arts in Birmingham going forward and we have already planned some legacy events for 2019 and 2020 with our Creative Heights artists as well as in discussions with new visual and performance artists. If you would like to get involved please email [email protected]