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Yorkshire is set to benefit from a new collection of contemporary Northern artworks thanks to a generous donation from Service to the Arts in Leeds (SAL). SAL was looking for a worthy beneficiary for the £9,000 left in its funds after it decided to close. Having considered several proposals, the committee decided to award the money to New Light for our latest initiative: the establishment of the New Light Collection.
SAL was originally conceived in 1982 to promote the visual arts in Leeds and local communities, primarily through the annual Leeds Art Fair which was launched in 1983. Over the years, the charity has been instrumental in connecting practising artists with people from all walks of life, encouraging many to engage with art for the first time. When the committee was considering where their money could be best used, they were particularly interested in New Light’s desire to create a permanent collection of contemporary Northern art for display in public places including hospitals and schools.
A number of pieces have already been ear-marked for the Collection including a painting by the recipient of the 2013 Valeria Sykes Prize – Josie Jenkins, Nat Quinn who won the award in 2011 and Francesca Hudson, winner of the 2011 Sponsor’s Choice Award.
A panel with a broad range of experience in the arts world has been set up to select further appropriate works for the Collection including Annette Petchey and Emerson Mayes from New Light, Janet Williams from Service to the Arts in Leeds and John Bell, owner of the Zillah Bell Gallery in Thirsk. To reflect SAL’s work, they will initially be looking at Leeds artists, including those at the start of their artistic career. The remit will then broaden to include the whole of the North of England.
It is envisaged that the Collection will be ready to be displayed in local venues by the Spring.