The Tetley: An Exceptional Art Centre in Leeds
With its traditional red brick façade brightly lit with futuristic neon signs, Leeds’ new centre for contemporary art has managed to combine old and new in a glorious display of northern charm. Inside, an array of wood-panelling blends with modern geometric shapes to offer artists a fantastic backdrop… and give this former brewery a new lease of life as a stunning gallery devoted to developing new talent and enhancing the town’s cultural life.
Old Versus New
Once the world’s largest producer of cask ale, The Tetley is keen to celebrate its great heritage and use it to help showcase a modern, exciting Leeds.
The first thing you’ll notice when entering the vintage, revolving doors of The Tetley is what gives this centre its particular charm: a combination of retro and modern. While the 1930s staircase painted in immaculate white and original steel lift allow you to travel through time, its bright colours and modern layout offer the chance to view experimental, cutting-edge art in a contemporary space.
Art deco-styled interiors are adorned with surrealist paper collages and large-scale paintings of photographs. While colourful, recycled fabric sculptures are on-show for kids; making this gallery a treat for all ages.
What’s on at The Tetley
Much more than just a typical gallery, The Tetley wants visitors to interact with artists – to be active participants instead of passive spectators. Some artists are giving the public the chance to watch their art being created live, in real time; letting them experience the different stages of the artist’s work all the way through to completion. While, family workshops and courses for adults are also available to provide visitors with an opportunity to develop their own creative skills.
In addition to the workshops (which are bookable here), the gallery also has two distinct areas of interest that will conquer both lovers of vintage and contemporary art aficionados alike: the permanent collection and the many exhibitions.
The permanent collection presents a traditional approach to art that blends nicely with the gallery’s modern themes. Vintage pub signs from the now demolished buildings, tools used in the traditional brewing process, redundant machines and gadgets... This ever-growing part of the centre gathers memories and objects collected from the old brewery – most of them having been found in The Tetley itself or brought in by members of the public.
On the other hand, the frequently changing exhibitions welcome newcomers to Leeds’ contemporary scene and their fascinating pieces. In recent years, the gallery has explored the influence of cultural icons in the formation of identity with The Feast Wagon, got caught in the powerful portraits of people’s emotions by Paul Digby, and discovered emerging Leeds’ artists during the Jerwood Drawing Prize. The exhibitions are always stimulating, innovative and educative.
If The Tetley wants one thing from its visitors, it would be that they learn. Learn about newcomers to the Leeds art scene, learn new art skills of their own and learn more about their own reactions to art A true cultural adventure, your visit to Leeds’ centre for contemporary art is guaranteed to be memorable.