Leeds Art Gallery: Is lack of funding becoming a prominent problem?

Leeds Art Gallery: Is lack of funding becoming a prominent problem?

The Leeds Art Gallery has recently launched a crowdfunding campaign in the hopes of raising £17,000 in thirty days so that artist Lothar Götz can create a contemporary, abstract painting as Leeds City Gallery reopens in October. The Art Fund’s Art Happens Initiative will hopefully fund the ‘immersive and site-specific project’, which has been conceived for the original Victorian staircase dating back to 1888. However, is this just another funding issue in a long line of similar complaints? It seems that the lack of funding to areas of the arts continues to dwindle with no clear conclusion within reach.

Götz’s artistic talent flows between architecture, sculpture and painting, and his dedicated work links to Leeds Art Gallery’s devotion to supporting artists and the collection of art from out time. It provides the Gallery with the opportunity to reinvent its art in an innovative and fresh space. The collection will feature work not seen in generations. This will include the opportunity to view an extensive exhibition of watercolours by John Sell Cotman; Sir Jacob Epstein’s Maternity (1910-11); and works on paper by Mexican artist Diego Rivera. An exhibition by Joseph Beuys will also be on display, alongside recent acquisitions by contemporary artists Martine Syms and Alison Wilding RA. The barrel vaulted glazed roof that was discovered during the repairs will be revealed to the public for the first time, after being hidden for 40 years. The broad array of artistic talent on display should embolden any enthusiast to attend the reopening on October 13th.

It seems that the lack of funding to areas of the arts continues to dwindle with no clear conclusion within reach.

The Gallery believes that ‘Götz’s site-specific commission will have a huge impact on visitors’ experience of the space.  Götz is a celebrated artist known for creating large-scale, colourful murals, and has lived and worked in the UK for more than 20 years. Götz’s striking wall painting will link the upper and lower galleries, drawing the viewer up the stairs to the new light-filled renovated galleries above. Made with vibrant colours, the contemporary abstract painting will be seen alongside the gallery’s classic original Victorian architecture. The ambitions commission will bridge the old and the new; highlighting how they can work alongside each other.’ It is heartening to know that such a transformation will soon grace the city with its artistic flair, despite the constant battle for an affluence that other sectors perhaps attain with less doubt and scepticism.

At a time of increasing uncertainty, it is yet unclear whether other, similar issues will arise that force galleries, theatres and other institutions to appeal to the public for aid. It is a blight on the artistic community that will only continue to fester. Fortunately for Leeds in any case, Götz appears to be stimulating more investment and support for the Gallery. Sarah Brown, Principal Keeper at the Leeds Art Gallery declared that: “Our commission with Lothar Götz will transform the heart of Leeds Art Gallery creating a unique and stunning work that will have a dramatic impact on visitors’ experience of the gallery when we re-open in October.” We can only hope that this will shift the momentum and revitalise waning interest in the arts before funding decreases even further.

Stephanie Bennett

Image courtesy of Time Out

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