A 1930s building in Leeds, known as The Tetley for its tenure as the former headquarters of the Tetley Brewery, will have its first three floors converted into a series of "fantastic" contemporary art, learning and community spaces under the guidance of acclaimed local group Project Space Leeds.
Having worked from a disused office space at the Whitehall Waterfront since forming in 2006, the charity – known for an impressively ambitious programme of contemporary art in the city and beyond – has secured a grant of more than £225,000 from Arts Council England, allowing organisers to realise their creative dream.
© Stephen Iles
“For years in Leeds there has been a gap in provision for contemporary visual art,” observes Kerry Harker, the Director of the team.
“It is fantastic that, at long last, the city will have its own interpretation of brilliantly inspiring, thriving places such as Glasgow's Centre for Contemporary Arts and Bristol's Arnolfini.”
Harker says Carlsberg UK, the owners of the building, have provided “tremendous support” alongside the Council funding.
“It puts us on a more sustainable footing, which means we can focus our efforts on creating a centre of excellence for contemporary visual art.
“We want it to be a first class resource for local people and an important attraction for students and visitors to Leeds.”
Work to convert the building, which will care for the Tetley archive and preserve features including the original boardroom and war memorials, began last September. When the development reaches its expected conclusion, in the autumn, it will have added modern facilities, event and retail areas, refurbishing the eye-catching period glass roof in the process.
Artists from the region will be invited to develop and exhibit work which will “appeal to a wide range of audiences”, with new commissions planned as part of the initial investment.
Cluny Macpherson, of the Council, called the project “exciting for Leeds and exciting for the arts”, praising the “strong and innovative” alliance between the brewery and planners.
“It has the potential to become a major draw for visitors, artists and people living in Leeds and a nationally significant hub for the visual arts,” he added.
A green space outside the main entrance will accommodate an annual programme of outdoor events and play facilities commissioned from artists.