Leeds arts charity announces new HQ to mark 30th birthday

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A Leeds arts charity that supports people with learning disabilities is celebrating its 30th birthday with an exciting programme of events, exhibitions and performances.

Pyramid has organised a retrospective exhibition at Prime Studios on Kirkstall Road, projections on Light Night, an exhibition of new work at the Tetley Centre for Contemporary Art and the Big Birthday Party. The charity has also revealed ambitious plans for a new headquarters by 2023, providing its artists with access to studio space, maker space and exhibition space, and creating an industry hub for artists with learning disabilities.

Pyramid was set up in 1989 within the walls of Meanwood Park Hospital as a weekly, volunteer run arts club for the patients who spent their lives there. When the hospital closed in 1996 the club became ‘Pyramid of Arts’, a project to keep the patients in touch with each other through arts activity.

Since then, Pyramid has helped more than 1,000 people with learning difficulties from all backgrounds to discover and explore the arts and have the chance to see their work exhibited at major cultural venues across the city. The charity has also campaigned tirelessly to break down the barriers that prevent its artists from enjoying the same access to work spaces, studios, galleries and audiences as other artists.

Liam Hirst, an artist who has worked with the charity since the age of 13, is now a trustee and a practicing artist. He said: “Our vision is that all artists with learning disability will have the opportunity to discover and explore the arts and to develop their creative practice to the full extent of their dreams and ambitions like I have been able to. We have some of the most talented and exciting artists in the region in Pyramid and we want them to be recognised as such. Most excitingly, Pyramid plans to raise the money over the next four years to build a new HQ, which will be the most exciting centre for contemporary art in the north of England, run by people with learning disabilities – a resource for which Leeds can be truly proud.”

Director James Hill added: “We are hugely proud of our artists and have supported them to apply for funding, win commissions and create high profile work which has been exhibited across the UK and Europe. Our artists are some of the brightest talents in the UK right now but are often overlooked for gallery shows, new commissions and other opportunities as they require additional support to undertake these projects. As we look back on 30 years of fantastic art from artists with learning disabilities we’re really excited to reveal plans for our future starting with a programme of events, exhibitions, talks and tours to celebrate our milestone birthday in style.”

The charity, in Barkston House on Croydon Street, Leeds, will host a series of events from October to December 2019.

The big birthday bash, on October 18, will raise funds for the new HQ, while offering the chance to celebrate the amazing achievements of artists past and present.

For more information, or for details about tickets, visit www.pyramid.org.uk or call 0113 234 6040.

You can also follow Pyramid on Twitter www.twitter.com/pyramid_of_arts or Facebook www.facebook.com/Pyramid.of.Arts.