Art will be flexing its muscles too

NOT got a ticket to the Olympic Games? Not even interested in sport? Don’t rule yourself out of the Olympic festivities just yet. There will be a prestigious British cultual show too. A lot of effort has been spent on the Cultural Olympiad and it’s going to be available for all to enjoy. Here are our highlights:

ROAD TO 2012
BT has stumped up the cash to fund the portrait exhibition Road to 2012: Changing Pace. It is the second phase in a three-year, three-cycle photo project that you can see now at the National Portrait Gallery until 25 September 2011. The project has commissioned 100 new portraits to celebrate the people who are making the Olympics happen. This second round of snaps will include 37 portraits by Emma Hardy and Dinlay MacKay. The subjects include Sue Barker, the Children’s Laureate, Michael Morpurgo and Paralympian Anna Sharkey.

You can even explore the project from behind the scenes on the website The final display next year will be part of the London 2012 Festival, the grand finale of the Cultural Olympiad, held between 21 June and 9 September 2012.

You’ll have to hold on until next year for Stories of the World, but it will be well worth the wait. This interactive educational festival will be launched in museums, libraries and archives across the country in 2012. There will be 40 venues exhibiting objects that will teach us about the UK’s place in the world in the past, present and future.

The museum curators have drafted in young talent to help. There are already around 1,500 young people involved in developing the exhibitions. They will be setting out displays, designing and marketing the projects. This will be the biggest museum project ever – make sure you check it out. Track down your local exhibition on the Museum, Library and Archives website,

The Arts Council has got properly stuck into this cultural carnival too, commissioning nine public art projects across the country. In London, we will have the roofs of our bus shelters turned into canvases by artists Alfie Dennen and Paula Le Dieu. They hope to surprise us with their creativity when we look down from the top deck of a double-decker. Follow the artists’ progress on their blog, The works will be launched from June 2012. The Cultural Olympiad has been kindly sponsored by the Arts Council, National Lottery, Legacy Trust UK, the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games, the Greater London Authority, Olympic commercial sponsors and other arts organisations.