Leeds theatre company creates open air art gallery of residents' work

An innovative new open air art gallery has officially opened in south Leeds featuring work created by talented members of the local community.

Thursday, 14th May 2020, 6:00 am

Leeds theatre company Slung Low has opened the LS11 Art Gallery on lampposts in Beeston and Holbeck - so all can enjoy the exhibits despite the Covid-19 lockdown.

The gallery features paintings, drawings and photographs by artistic residents, of all ages, who live in both wards.

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More art in the LS11 Art Gallery, organised by theatre company Slung Low. Picture: James Hardisty.

Alan Lane, artistic director of Slung Low, said: "We’re about telling stories here and the story that LS11 Art Gallery absolutely tells clearly is that Holbeck and Beeston are full of amazingly creative people.

"The quality of the art that we are getting is wonderful and the response of people seeing the art on the lamp posts is so powerfully positive and unusual in these strained times.”

Among those who submitted art was Neil Morgan, 41, of Wesley Street, who has drawn as a hobby for the past 20 years.

His picture of a crow, in black ink, is on display on Lady Pit Lane in Beeston.

Katie Ward, five, with her picture of a girl with rainbow hair.

He said he feels "very proud" to have had his work chosen for the gallery, adding: "I've never had anything on display before as I mainly draw for my own satisfaction. To think that other people may be taking a passing interest and are wondering why there is artwork in their street is very pleasing. It's a great idea."

Neil, who is currently on furlough from his job distributing drinks to pubs, is putting his artistic skills to good use during the lockdown by teaching youngsters how to draw.

He said: "I have about 10 youngsters - my nieces, nephews and children of friends - who are following my guidance. In lockdown, it gives them something to do on a rainy day. I'm finding that really useful and rewarding."

Another budding artist whose work is on display is Katie Ward, five, who impressed the theatre company with her picture of a girl with rainbow hair, which is now on a lamppost on Domestic Street.

Neil Morgan, with his painting of a crow in The LS11 Art Gallery. Picture: James Hardisty

Mum Anne-Marie Ward, 30, of Holbeck, said: "She's chuffed to have it up. We asked if it could be near our house because we've only been walking from our house so we went to go and look at it and she was chuffed. It's nice to feel part of it and she is enjoying seeing the different ones around too - she says 'oh look, there's someone else's picture'."

Slung Low said the LS11 Art Gallery will be open in Holbeck and Beeston for the "foreseeable future".

As well as organising the street art project, the company's members are also currently Covid-19 volunteers for Beeston and Holbeck.

Slung Low was founded in 2000 and specialises in making theatre productions in non-theatre spaces, often with large community performance companies at its heart.

More art in the LS11 Art Gallery, organised by theatre company Slung Low. Picture: James Hardisty.

The company recently relocated to The Holbeck in South Leeds, the oldest working men’s club in Britain.

It runs the bar as a traditional members’ bar and the rest of the building as an open development space for artists and other theatre companies to present their work.

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A map of the artwork locations for the LS11 Art Gallery

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