Category Archives: Art

A Little Slice of Light Night

The annual Light Night returned to Leeds last Friday, featuring late-night openings of galleries, museums, theatres, shopping centres and unusual spaces. Starting just as it went dark at 6pm, the race was on to experience as much of the five hours of jam-packed culture as possible.

Continue reading A Little Slice of Light Night

Recon Festival: the lowdown

This October sees Recon Festival return for another series of intriguing and inspiring musical and artistic performances across Leeds and Bradford.

The diverse line-up features performances from Warp Records electronica pioneers Plaid and Clark, Leeds locals Hookworms, legendary US street musician The Space Lady, and lots more.

Continue reading Recon Festival: the lowdown

Culture Vulture: Green-themed cream tea at Headingley’s Bowery!

Originally published on Thurs 4 August 2011 at

Nestled by the side of a busy crossroads, it could be easy to miss The Bowery, a wonderfully unusual café in north Headingley.  One of Leeds’ hidden cultural treasures, it’s home to a fascinating little art gallery – climb the stairs and you’ll find an ever-changing range of exhibitions by local artists. If you feel like you want to get involved with making art, there are regular workshops covering everything from photography to floristry, too.

Downstairs, alongside the coffee and cake, you’ll find a boutique nestled with ceramics, textiles, jewellery and other artwork on sale from local designers and exciting emerging artists.  And if that wasn’t enough, they sell some of the finest coffee in the land, recently making it into The Times’ top 10 coffee shops in the UK.

It might be worth checking it out on Sunday 21 August, when it’ll be taken over for an afternoon quiz with a difference. Leeds University student Kristina Diprose is hosting a cream tea fundraiser for her work with the UK Youth Climate Coalition, a national non-profit organisation working to bring young people together for positive action on climate change.  This November, Kristina will be one of ten young people from the UK attending UN climate negotiations in Durban, South Africa, taking the concerns of British youth to international decision-makers.

She says of her chance to attend the South Africa negotiations: “This is an amazing opportunity and I’m so excited to be involved. Young people need to make sure that negotiators and world leaders know we care about these talks.  The decisions made in South Africa will affect our generation for decades to come”.

It’s a quiz, sure, but for five pounds, this includes a tea or coffee, homemade scones with jam and cream, a charity donation and the chance to win a pair of theatre tickets to a performance of your choice – worth up to £60 – kindly donated by the West Yorkshire Playhouse.  It could well be better than a pint in a dingy bar!

It all starts at 3.30pm on Sunday 21 August. There’s only 30 places available, which must be booked in advance from The Bowery.  Once they’re gone, they’re gone!

Call 0113 2242284 to book your place, or check out the Facebook page for the event for more details.

Kids’ Spring Half Term Round-up

Originally published on Weds 18 May 2011 at

The Flying Scotsman at the National Railway Museum, York
Saturday 28 – Monday 30 May

Take the chance to see for yourself the iconic and legendary steam locomotive as it returns to the National Railway Museum in York this half term. There’ll be talks from train experts, who’ll be on hand to tell you more about the train’s history, recent restoration and how it was once the fastest train on Earth! Plus, don’t miss a live bagpipe performance in celebration of the Flying Scotsman’s appearance.

Ryedale Folk Weekend, Ryedale Folk Museum, Hutton-le-Hole
Friday 27 – Monday 30 May

Fun for all the family at Ryedale Folk Weekend – with live music, workshops, sing-alongs and more in the 16th century manor house that’s home to the Ryedale Folk Museum. It’s all happening in the picturesque setting of Hetton-le-Hole, and promises to be a fantastic festival featuring great entertainment for everyone. Tickets are £40 for adults, children (4-16) £15.

Dream Bigger Dreams, All Saints’ Square, Rotherham
Tueday 31 May – Friday 3 June

A roadshow with a twist! The University of Sheffield will be holding a series of performances and interactive sessions in Rotherham town centre. It’s a chance for kids to find out what the university does, meet students, and try out a range of activities ranging from archaeology to electronics to medicine! Activities will be running from 10.30am – 2.30pm each day, and are completely free.

Half Term Fun Days in the Energy House, Heeley City Farm, Sheffield
Wednesday 1 – Thursday 2 June

Come along to South Yorkshire Energy Centre to have fun discovering more about recycling and saving energy! Based at Heeley City Farm, there’s pigs, goats and other animals for kids to meet. Suitable for all the family. Free entry – open 11am to 5pm.

Wetwang Scarecrow Festival
Saturday 28 May – Sunday 5 June

To many people, Wetwang is famous for appearing in Look North’s weather map, whenever its honorary mayor Paul Hudson presents the forecast. However, it’s also home to a scarecrow festival – previous entrants have included Noel Edmonds in his ‘Deal or no Deal’ guise, a representation of the ‘Dancing on Ice’ cast and – wait for it – ‘Status Crow’, last year’s winner, depicted in performance of ‘Rocking All Over The Wolds’. Who will be ‘crow’-ned the winner this year? Head to the village hall, Wetwang, between 10am – 4pm during the festival, and pick up a festival guide.

Bridlington Arts Festival Finale, The Spa Bridlington
Saturday 28 – Monday 30 May

Bridlington Arts Festival celebrates its 25th anniversary this year, so head over to the newly refurbished Spa and take in its impressive sea views. The Spa Gardens will feature street entertainers, a colourful array of continental market stalls and a host of free entertainment (weather permitting). The fun kicks off at 11am, and is free.

Zoolab Animal Roadshow, Dewsbury Museum
Friday 3 June

Meet snakes, spiders and other creepy crawlies and creatures at the Zoolab Animal Roadshow! A team of rangers will deliver hands-on workshops which use animals as a way to encourage kids to explore the natural world. There’s four one-hour animal handling sessions during the day, with a charge of £2.50 per child.

Kaleidoscope Mask Making, The Hepworth Wakefield
Monday 30 May

Come and make a kaleidoscope mask at the brand new Hepworth Wakefield gallery! The Hepworth is Britain’s newest major art gallery, the largest purpose-built gallery space outside London, and will undoubtedly become one of the country’s most important galleries – housing hundreds of works from the late legendary sculptor Barbara Hepworth and other major artists. Drop in from 11am – 4pm. Free entry.

Fissure by Louise Ann Wilson

Originally published on 10 May 2011 at

As art installations go, this one is about as far away from the ordinary as you can get. There’s no gallery, no ‘piece’ to look at, and certainly no queuing. Instead, there’s a 12-mile walk, stunning Yorkshire scenery and live performance – all in the aim of provoking new thinking about the landscapes in which we live.

Based on a walk around Ingleborough in the Yorkshire Dales, the performance involves composers, artists, poets and choreographers. Even more unusually, neuroscientists, geologists, dancers, choirs, and cavers were consulted to piece the work together, fusing together the ideas of the brain and the landscape.

The walk meanders across rivers, over hills and moors and into caves, exploring philosophical notions of life, death, grief, resilience and renewal over two days.

Fissure has been commissioned as part of The Re-Enchantment, a national arts programme exploring the relationship between people and place. Those wishing to take part need to make their own way to either Settle or Kirby Stephen railway stations, and can choose to stay over at either a B&B or a bunkhouse.

Everyone involved will need to be relatively fit to manage the walk, which is planned to go ahead regardless of the weather – so bring your wellies just in case! It’s certainly a break from the norm, even if it’s a bit of a mystery what’s going to happen.

Find out more at the Fissure website.

The Half: Photographs of Actors by Simon Annand

Originally published on Thurs 31 March 2011 at

The Half‘ – a stage term given to the 30 minutes before the curtain goes up at the theatre. It’s got a special name because it’s a special moment, when actors begin to shed their own personality and take on the life of their stage characters.

It’s a moment that’s been encapsulated in a series of photographs by Simon Annand, soon to be on display at Scarborough Art Gallery and the Stephen Joseph Theatre. Capturing faces from stage and screen over the past 25 years, there’s glimpses of young unknowns from the 1980s – now household names – including Anthony Hopkins, Colin Firth and Daniel Day Lewis.

Annand’s unprecedented access offers a rare glimpse not only into a personal moment in an actor’s preparations, but also serves as a documentation of theatre history. Each actor is caught in the midst of their routines and rituals, preparing to transform into a new personality for the stage.

The Half is being held – appropriately – in two halves. The largest part of the exhibition is on display at Scarborough Art Gallery, consisting of black and white shots, moving into colour photography at the Stephen Joseph Theatre Gallery.

Simon Annand will visit Scarborough Art Gallery to discuss his work on Friday 20 May, from 12.30 – 1.30pm.

York Open Studios

Originally published on Weds 23 March 2011 at

Don’t miss one of the biggest events on the artistic calendar this year as 119 artists open their doors to the public around York in a spectacular celebration of the city’s artistic talent. From April 1 – 3, take the opportunity to pop in on an artist at work in their home, studio or exhibition space, and get a taste of new art being made in Yorkshire’s picturesque city.

Joining the lineup of exhibition spaces is a new addition, Bar Lane Studios, which opened on Micklegate last May. Formerly the York Sony Centre, it’s been transformed by a group of artists into a new community arts space, the only one of its kind in York. It’s home to eleven local artists, who’ll be showcasing their work over the weekend.

This year’s event is a special one – it’s the 10th anniversary of York Open Studios. To celebrate, all artists from previous years have been invited back, so if you had a favourite from last year or before, you’ll be able to enjoy their work again over the weekend.

There’s so much to see and do that you’ll be wise to consult their hefty programme and plan your route around the city. You can find it, and much more about the artists appearing, at the York Open Studios website.

My writing portfolio: an update

Since November 2010 I’ve written reviews, previews and events listings on the cultural website  Here’s a portfolio of my work so far.

For the latest, I’d recommend that you subscribe to my site via RSS using something like Google Reader – it’s dead easy.  Watch this video for tips on how to do it.

You can find this page in the writing section of my site, too – take a browse!

The Yorkshire ‘Google Art Project’

Originally published on 3rd February 2011 at

Yorkshire is home to some of the finest oil and acrylic painting collections in the country, with hundreds of galleries and museums housing thousands of works. Now, for the first time, a collection of the region’s favourite paintings are available to view online.

Yorkshire’s Favourite Paintings is managed by 30 museums and galleries from across the region, celebrating the outstanding quality and variety of paintings in the collections across all four counties. The site contains 100 of the most-loved paintings chosen by the public from across the region, dating from the 17th to 21st century.

Among the collection are works from Francis Bacon, Paul Nash and Thomas Gainsborough. Visitors can also leave their own personal stories relating to each painting, and share their experience with others.

There are around 10,000 oil and acrylic paintings in Yorkshire, but estimates suggest that 80% of these are not on public display. Yorkshire’s Favourite Paintings brings many of these works back into the public eye once more.

Liz Waring, Curator of Visual Art at Museums Sheffield, says:

“We are delighted to be part of this project which gives everyone the chance to view in one place a selection of the fantastic collection of oil paintings we have in the region. Anyone in the world can now go online and see the paintings and the stories behind the pictures, with the ability to zoom in and see the incredible detail and techniques used by the artist”.

Visitors to the site can also win the chance to take home an exclusive replica of their favourite painting. Take a peek and enter at Winners will be announced in March.