YEP says: Our city’s art collection is more than just cash in the attic

Leeds city centre could double in size
Leeds city centre could double in size
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Beauty is in the eye of the beholder when it comes to art.

What one person considers a masterpiece, the next may dismiss as childish daubs.

But whist the critics may disagree, the valuers have to give them a more prosaic valuation.

Today the YEP can reveal Leeds City Council owns an art collection worth £171m. But despite being strapped for cash, it has not sold a single piece of its collection for the past five years. And council leader Judith Blake is adamant that it has absolutely no plans to sell off the “family silver”.

“These internationally important collections belong to the people of Leeds – they are the result of the generosity of past generations of donors and philanthropists and we hold them in trust for the generations to come,” she said.

But fine words butter no parsnips as they say, and raising a bit of cash on the back of some of these artworks could come in handy.

The trouble is once it’s gone, it’s gone. What this investigation should do is put the spotlight on our collection. Is there a way it can start to pay for itself better? Across West Yorkshire there is a staggering amount of artwork hidden from view. An art roadshow people would pay to see would give all councils some extra cash, without getting rid of the works themselves.