Leeds Art Gallery
I know I may be preaching to the converted, but I visited Leeds Art Gallery recently to take a look at the space after its recent refurbishment, and it reminded me how important art galleries are and the positive impact they have on me personally.
With silly season (my favourite!) upon us it might not be on your list of priorities to make time to visit an art gallery, but like lots of other things that make us happy, it’s something I think we should do more of. Here’s how and why:
1. It’s a mindful activity that will help you destress. Got Christmas shopping fatigue? Pop into your local art gallery for some quality respite, a space to focus, breathe and be. You’ll notice you slow down without even trying.
2. Have a cultural lunch break. I used to visit the art gallery often when I worked in Leeds, which instantly made me feel better about my working day (and my homemade squashed tinfoil sandwich that I’d eaten beforehand).
3. Flexibility and freedom. You can choose how long you want to spend in a gallery. It can be difficult to make time to see a play/show/film but in an art gallery you control how much time you spend in it.
4. I’m not an artist but I always come away from a gallery feeling more creative and inspired, helping with my productivity personally and professionally.
5. Art galleries, like museums, are not just about the exhibits. Look at the buildings that house them. We are so lucky to have these buildings available to us to walk around for free. Even contemporary spaces have something to offer too.
6. Art galleries are a perfect space for me time AND to be sociable in too. Bring a friend or talk to the volunteers that work in them. Listen to another person’s perspective on what you both see in front of you. A smashing place for a first date too…
7. No time to look at the gallery? Support it by using their cafe instead. You have to eat! The Tiled Hall Cafe at Leeds Art Gallery is my favourite place to go for lunch, coffee and cake, purely for its grand decor; hello marble columns and ornate tiling. P.S Same goes for Salts Mill in Saltaire, the restaurant/cafe there is one of my favourites.
8. Exhibitions will vary so you have the opportunity to discover new artists but I also love the familiarity of galleries that hold the same exhibits for years. There’s something comforting about stepping off the Headrow in Leeds and walking into a room that exhibits fantastic Victorian art.
9. In a world of online sensory overload it’s a welcome alternative to see things for real. We mustn’t forget what this feels like. To see the brushstrokes from your favourite artist, or the layers of colour on a canvas in person is something pretty special.
10. Most art galleries are free so go fill your boots!