by The Tetley
At once a student and a finance city, Leeds has long been a leader in the arts within the UK, with the likes of Henry Moore and Barbara Hepworth hailing from there. From more traditional strains of art to the unapologetically radical, Leeds has seen its fair share of influential cultural producers and movements. Continuing on this thread, the city has initiated a 5-year cultural investment programme that is to end in 2023 with a year of cultural celebration, along with an international cultural festival. Its dedication to culture can be seen in the quality of its organisations, including The Tetley, housed in the former Tetley Brewery.
The Tetley houses incredible exhibitions, informative workshops and great food and drink to boot. We invest in new and emerging artists with a programme of both local and international talent. At only 5 years, The Tetley has already supported the work of over 550 artists and have welcomed over 600,000 visitors. There’s also been over 30 new major artworks that owes part of its creation to The Tetley, all of which have toured major arts festivals. In the next 5 years, we plan to continue on this trajectory of championing the arts.
Below are some places to mark on your map and events to add to your calendar from all around Leeds, as chosen by Millie Carroll, Marketing and Press Coordinator at The Tetley.
They not only celebrate and preserve the legacy of one of Yorkshire’s most famous artists but also support innovative sculpture projects and exhibitions from artists across the globe. They also host a range of popular talks and workshops for the art community in Leeds.
There’s something for everyone in Leeds Art Gallery as work spans across all art forms and includes contemporary and historical art.
Freehold Projects is an accessible and inclusive art space in Leeds based at 10-12 New Market Street. They host art exhibitions in by emerging artists in their shop unit and have regular evening exhibition openings where you can meet artists.
Run by passionate volunteers, Serf encourages peer learning and support for emerging artists in Leeds. Community is at the heart of what they do, so go see their exhibition space and support the Leeds art scene.
With a wide and varied programme, Basement Arts Project is artist-run and presents exhibitions in a unique art space in the basement of a terrace house in Beeston.
A visual arts organisation that produces and presents ambitious new work by contemporary artists and supports the development of practitioners in the region. Their projects engage broadly with culture and society and often work outside the institutions of art.
We had to include ourselves! We are a contemporary art space giving emerging artists a larger platform to showcase their work. Usually, we give artists their first solo show or bring international artists to the UK for the first time. We host around four exhibitions annually across all media and have a lively programme of events from screenings to workshops, festivals to talks, all throughout the year.
“Compromising with colour means grey, and we have enough grey!” The project has seen both local and national artists creating art installations and events across five sites across Leeds city centre.
To see multiple public art installations by world-famous artists for free, head to Leeds University and download a free trail that takes you around the campus seeing work by artists like Barbara Hepworth and Michael Lyons.
Sweet study spots
Cafe 164 at Munroe House: A friendly space that offers a spacious atmosphere and a creative vibe, and a good wifi connection. Does great food and drink, perfect for a chilled space to do some work.
Studio 12 at Leeds Central Library: For 16-30-year-olds, it provides incredible equipment and expertise to help young people develop in creative talents from photography, music, video and software work.
Just over the road from us, you'll find Sheaf Street, a cosy cafe that does great snacks, and has an independent feel. Spaces are limited but there’s great wifi connection and even a small outside Area.
Us again! In our Bar & Kitchen, we have an excellent wifi connection and multiple plug points around the bar. Have a cup of North Star coffee, roasted just up the road, or even a pint of Tetley’s if work is stressing you out too much.
Alternative and art cinemas
Has to be on the top of everyone's list. A Grade II listed building with original red velvet seats and a wonderful vibe, it shows a range of films from new blockbusters to original classics. It also offers child-friendly viewings and even dog-friendly viewings.
Pavilion commission new film works and install them in unusual places around the city, they also run a network for artists working with moving image and run Leeds Art Walk, a walking tour of exhibitions on the first Wednesday of every month.
This popular student bar hosts a range of events, but now and then they like to celebrate some classics such as Wes Anderson and John Hughes. They do film screenings alongside themed quizzes and even craft stalls.
Adornments for your calendar
Two free evenings of spectacular light installations and events. The festival takes over multiple creative arts organisations across the city.
Leeds International Film Festival is the largest film festival outside of London, it celebrates film from local to international producers across a wide range of venues in the city.
The second annual Independent Directions Film Festival (INDIs) takes place this Autumn, across various independent venues in Leeds. The festival features specialist screenings of films, including independent British and International cinema, industry sessions, panel discussions and other installations entirely curated for an audience of 16-30-year-olds.
Promoting the best local and independent artists, makers and designers, displaying and selling their contemporary creations. There will be over 40 stalls around the building showcasing jewellery, homeware, books, photography, textiles, accessories, prints and so much more.