Who are the 30 new artists and makers in York Open Studios? Meet the next six here

A painting by Carol Douglas, to be found at 55 Albemarle Road, York

YORK Open Studios returns to its traditional spring slot for the next two weekends after last year’s temporary Covid-enforced detour to July.

More than 150 artists and makers will be showing and selling their work within their homes and workspaces, giving visitors an opportunity to view and buy “bespoke pieces to suit every budget”, from 10am to 5pm on April 2,3, 9 and 10, preceded by a 6pm to 9pm preview on April 1. 

As ever, the range of artists’ work encompasses painting and print, illustration, drawing and mixed media, ceramics, glass and sculpture, jewellery, textiles, photography and installation art. Check out the artists’ directory listings at yorkopenstudios.co.uk to find out who is participating and who will be opening up early for the preview.

CharlesHutchPress will highlight the 30 newcomers in a week-long preview, in map order, that continues today with Carol Douglas, Anthea Peters, Derek Gauld, Phil Bixby, Jacqueline Warrington and Richard Frost.

Carol Douglas at work in her studio

Carol Douglas, painting, 55 Albemarle Road, York

CAROL paints primarily in acrylic on canvas, adding oil pastel and fabric collage to some works. Her box canvasses are mostly unframed.

Carol completed her full-time foundation diploma in art and design in 2018, realising an ambition held since she was 16. Now, at 70, she has exhibited at Partisan café, in Micklegate, and According To McGee, in Tower Street, York, and Dean Clough Art Gallery, in Halifax, and is promoted by Broth Art, an on-line London gallery.

Jewellery designer Anthea Peters

Anthea Peters, jewellery, 6 Middlethorpe Drive, Dringhouses, York

ANTHEA creates wearable pieces of jewellery in silver and gold, complemented with copper accents, gemstones and enamel.

Her jewellery is inspired by the wild and unspoilt locations she frequents in her ‘day job’ as a chartered dam engineer in rugged, remote locations. Closer to home, she finds happiness in her garden and on moorland adventures with her family; exploring and studying flora and fauna for her jewellery designs. Consequently, silver toadstools adorn those designs, along with snails, flowers and ‘found’ objects.

“I’ve been making jewellery with precious metals for nearly 20 years and have made special commissions for friends and family over the years, including wedding rings; Christening bracelets; baby teething rings and for special birthdays,” says Anthea. “All my work is very personal and crafted with love, with the design developed specifically for that individual.”

Landscape printmaker Derek Gauld

Derek Gauld, landscape printmaking, 8 Middlethorpe Drive, York

DEREK creates printmaking works, both large and small, from mostly landscape sketching and painting outdoors in Yorkshire, the Lake District and Cornwall.

His distinctive style is developed from sketches, working on marks and tones through etching and printmaking techniques such as sugarlift, soft ground, aquatint and relief in the studio.

“I like the loose feel of sugarlift to begin prints,” he says. “I generally use soft ground etching for initial mark making and then build up tones from light grey to black through a process of aquatinting, which involves stopping out areas of the image and dropping into safe acid, leaving longer to create darker tones.

“I like the loose feel of sugarlift to begin prints,” says Derek Gauld

“I will pull a black-and-white print after three, four or five tone checks and sometimes add accented colour to the print plate to give another impression. Colour will be added individually to each print, and prints are limited to 25.”

Derek studied printmaking at evening class for three years and has exhibited at Pyramid Gallery and Blossom Street Gallery, in York, and Scarborough Art Gallery. He is a member of York Printmakers – whose membership now runs to 40 – and West Yorkshire Print Workshop.

Phil Bixby: Architect and photographer

Phil Bixby, photography, 24 Hob Moor Terrace, York

PHIL makes black-and-white photographs, shot on 35mm film, that he develops and scans to produce high-quality inkjet prints that explore texture and lighting.

Architect Phil rediscovered film photography after a lengthy absence.  “Black-and-white photography works with the same elements of light on form but allows a level of abstraction that buildings do not,” he says.

“Being reunited with tools from the late-20th century and learning again the varied characters of different films has given me scope to explore, experiment and enjoy.”

A rural scene by Phil Bixby

Believing “we need to plan for future change”, building designer Phil runs My York Central with Helen Graham, having started working together as My Future York, and since early summer 2017 they have been coordinating the My Castle Gateway project.

As an architect, he has worked on community self-build, masterplanning and community decision-making in York and elsewhere, while spending time aplenty watching and learning about York from the saddle of a bicycle.

“To watch a piece develop as the form and shape changes during the making process is both fascinating and exciting,” says Jacqueline Warrington

Jacqueline Warrington, jewellery, 3 White House Rise, York

JACQUELINE makes precious metal jewels and silver vessels, employing traditional techniques such as raising, chasing, repousse and forging. She makes silver icons too, exploring her interest in folklore and the saints.

Jacqueline trained with a renowned jewellery designer from the age of 16, then studied silversmithing and jewellery at Bradford and Sheffield art schools. She has been working at the bench since setting up her business in 1984, designing and making her own range of jewellery and exhibiting widely across the country.

“Using the qualities of the metals and stones in their various forms makes designing each piece a challenge,” says Jacqueline. “To watch a piece develop as the form and shape changes during the making process is both fascinating and exciting.”

In 2004, she set up a teaching school that ran successfully for 16 years but now she has decided to concentrate on her own work.

Richard Frost: From civil engineer to furniture maker

Richard Frost, furniture, 36 White House Gardens, York

AFTER a 27-year career as a civil engineer, Richard took a leap of faith and changed vocation to follow his passion for all things wood.

Re-training as a cabinet designer/maker at Waters & Acland Furniture School in Cumbria, he combines the problem-solving techniques of an engineer with the creative skills of an artist to design and make furniture and decorative items.

Setting up Richard Frost Design in January 2019, he has not looked back since, producing bespoke and limited-edition handcrafted furniture, household goods and gifts, often incorporating patterns, achieved through manipulation of contrasting woods and veneers.

“With no single definitive style, I take my inspiration from both the natural world and our industrial heritage,” says Richard. “My portfolio includes pieces with a traditional feel and those with more of a contemporary look. At all times my objective is to produce an exquisite piece of furniture.”

In focus tomorrow: Toni Mayner, jewellery; Kimbal Bumstead, painting; Duncan Lomax, photography; Moira Craig, printmaking; Jo Rodwell, mixed media, and John Hollington, wood.

Who are the 30 new artists and makers in York Open Studios? Meet the first six here

A sample of Kate Semple’s work as she makes her York Open Studios debut

YORK Open Studios returns to its traditional spring slot for the next two weekends after last year’s temporary Covid-enforced detour to July.

More than 150 artists and makers will be showing and selling their work within their homes and workspaces, giving visitors an opportunity to view and buy “bespoke pieces to suit every budget”, from 10am to 5pm on April 2,3, 9 and 10, preceded by a 6pm to 9pm preview on April 1. 

As ever, the range of artists’ work encompasses painting and print, illustration, drawing and mixed media, ceramics, glass and sculpture, jewellery, textiles, photography and installation art. Check out the artists’ directory listings at yorkopenstudios.co.uk to find out who is participating and who will be opening up early for the preview.

CharlesHutchPress will highlight the 30 newcomers in a week-long preview, in map order, that starts today with Laural Duval, Mandi Grant, Amanda Allmark, Marie Murphy, Poppy O’Rourke and Kate Semple.

Laura Duval in her studio

Laura Duval, mixed media, South Bank Studios, Southlands Methodist Church, 97 Bishopthorpe Road, York

ARTIST, designer and metalsmith Laura specialises in ceramics and metalwork, using copper as her first choice, although she does utilise silver too.

“I create bowls, cutlery, serving utensils, tableware, and other decorative items with the hope that my work will not only be admired, but also be used in the everyday, to create a sense of occasion,” she says. “All my creations are handmade one-of-a-kind pieces; no two pieces will ever be exactly the same.”

Mandi Grant in her studio at South Bank Studios

Mandi Grant, painting, South Bank Studios, Southlands Methodist Church, 97 Bishopthorpe Road, York

INSPIRED by the architectural features of York buildings, the lush vegetation of allotments and livestock, Mandi creates lyrical paintings of shapes, colours and textures in combinations of oil, acrylic and wax painting techniques.  

She has enjoyed a long and career in a tertiary college’s lively art department, teaching A-level and pre-degree foundation courses in art and design.

Mandi has embraced the challenges of combining her studies of fashion and textiles with taking a degree course in fine art painting and printmaking, encompassing the visual richness these subject areas afford.

Ceramicist Amanda Allmark

Amanda Allmark, ceramics, 70 Scott Street, York

EXHIBITING as part of the York College student showcase, Amanda’s ceramics are influenced by her life experiences and an ongoing mission to promote self-love, self-empowerment and our right, as human beings, to shine.

Drawing on a therapeutic background, she uses creativity to highlight human behaviours and emotions, encouraging awareness with a combination of words and illustration on the ceramic surface.

Have Courage Dear Heart, by Amanda Allmark

She handcrafts her contemporary ceramics by working with form and visual language, her pieces being at once impactful and playful and marked by beautifully burnished surfaces.

“The subtle colours and feminine lines of my designs work in contrast with strong and empowered messages,” she says.

Textile artist Marie Murphy: “Mid-century Brutalism meets a riot of colour”

Marie Murphy, textiles, 38 Scarcroft Road, York

MARIE set up her textiles studio in 2019 with a focus on illustration and surface pattern design. Her modern and bold homeware and stationery combine a love of geometric art, architecture, print and embroidery.

“My work could be described as a mix of mid-century Brutalism meets a riot of colour,” she says. “Designs and paintings begin as ideas in a sketchbook, as line drawings or the use of bold blocks of colours. These are then translated into paintings and illustrations.”

Those paintings and illustrations then form the basis for Marie’s digital patterns, prints and embroideries, influenced by such artist and designers as Bridget Riley, John Pawson and Anni Albers.

Poppy O’Rourke: Feminist-inspired artwork

Poppy O’Rourke, illustration, 13 East Mount Road, York

SELF-TAUGHT artist Poppy works in a variety of media to create feminist- inspired artwork, spanning digital illustration, painting and mixed media.

Poppy, who moved to York from Brighton in 2017 to study, favours intense colour and bold, minimalist designs, as seen in her Wonky Women series that aims to depict the female form in all its uneven beauty.

In her latest work, she experiments with colour and text to create unique designs centred around feminist quotes.

Share The Knowledge, Multiply The Power, by Poppy O’Rourke

Kate Semple, illustration, painting, ceramics, 13 East Mount Road, York

KATE has worked in the creative industry for 30 years, her experience ranging from special-effects painting in the film industry to designing and styling for editorial and working as a freelance Illustrator.

Since leaving London 19 years ago, she has created art, illustration and graphics for a variety of clients from her home studio in a wonky old Victorian house in York, where she also loves working in 3D, hand-building ceramic sculptures.

Kate Semple hand-building a ceramic sculpture

“I’ve drawn on recent personal experiences to create a new body of work that explores different mediums, whether ceramics, printmaking or drawing on both paper and clay,” says Kate, who is having a kiln installed in her garden shed

In 2022, Kate will be revisiting her Map Of York, first created in lockdown in 2020. Look out too for the illustration-led branding work she has done for Flori Bakery, in Nunnery Lane, spanning packaging, colouring books, tote bags, T-shirts and cards.

A constant stream of work for Kate is illustrating buildings, not least for the boutique hotel chain Guest House Hotels, both in York and Bath. She also created three paintings for a range of merchandise in the Ryedale Folk Museum shop in Hutton-le-Hole.

In focus tomorrow: Carol Douglas, painting; Anthea Peters, jewellery; Derek Gauld, landscape printmaking; Phil Bixby, photography; Jacqueline Warrington, jewellery; and Richard Frost, furniture.

York Open Studios returns with spring in its step and 30 new artists and makers

Debutant York Open Studios automata artist Philip Wilkinson in his Burton Stone Lane studio

YORK Open Studios returns with two weekends of creativity and colour on April 2, 3, 9 and 10 from 10am to 5pm each day.

After a temporary switch to July last year, the event resumes its more familiar spring slot for 2022, when more than 150 artists and makers will be showing and selling their work within their homes and workspaces, giving visitors an opportunity to view and buy “bespoke pieces to suit every budget”. 

The range of artists’ work encompasses painting and print, illustration, drawing and mixed media, ceramics, glass and sculpture, jewellery, textiles, photography and installation art.

As with every year, new artists – 30 in total – dovetail with regulars, enabling visitors to see new work by their favourites and discover innovative work by emerging artists and those new to York Open Studios. In keeping with past years, artists have been handpicked by a panel of art professionals to keep the line-up fresh and diverse.  

York Open Studios artist and co-organiser Beccy Ridsdel

Beccy Ridsdel, one of the organisers and an artist in her own right, says: “We are thrilled to bring to this ever popular, two-weekend event to York and welcome visitors and the residents of York to enjoy and buy art in our usual time slot of April. 

“Last year, our 20th year, was a special celebration and we recognise that after two years of restrictions on our lives, our visitors are more than delighted to get out and about enjoying all that York Open Studios brings.

“Our artists too are really looking forward to sharing their work.  Our weekends may have been 21 years in the making, yet 2022 allows us to introduce even more talent to York. We look forward to welcoming everyone to one of the country’s premier arts events.”

Mixed-media eco-artist Lisa Lundqvist: Showing her work in her garden studio at 55 Green Lane, Acomb

A key aim of the York Open Studios team is to support and work closely with developing artists or those new to making creativity their career. Working with York College University Centre and York St John University, the York Open Studios committee has selected several undergraduates for the Student Showcase. 

Among them will be Laetitia Newcomb, whose sculptural ceramics are influenced by her time in Africa and her home in Yorkshire, and Shannon Vertigan, whose installation art homes in on the theme of home. 

Last year’s interactive map went down so well that visitors can access such a map again via the yorkopenstudios.co.uk website. Alternatively, a free printed directory is available from various tourist hubs and artist locations throughout York and beyond. 

York Open Studios 2022 will have a preview evening on April 1 from 6pm to 9pm. Check out the artists’ directory listings at yorkopenstudios.co.uk to find out who is participating.

More Things To Do in York to celebrate losing an hour’s lie-in tonight. Clock in to List No. 75, courtesy of The Press, York

Quick step: Jake Quickenden as dancing cowboy Willard in Footloose The Musical at York Theatre Royal

FROM Holding Out For A Hero to Search For The Hero, Charles Hutchinson is on a quest to find heroic deeds and much else to entertain you.

Musical of the week: Footloose at York Theatre Royal, Tuesday to Saturday

DANCING On Ice champ Jake Quickenden rides into York as cowboy Willard and musicals stalwart Darren Day plays Reverend Moore in Racky Plews’s touring production of Footloose The Musical.

Reprising the 1984 film’s storyline, teenage city boy Ren is forced to move to the rural American backwater of Bomont, where dancing and rock music are banned. Taking matters into his own hands, soon he has all hell breaking loose around him and the whole town on its feet. 

The set design, by the way, is by Sara Perks, who designed York Theatre Royal’s open-air show Around The World In 80 Days last summer and Shakespeare’s Rose Theatre productions in York. Box office: 01904 623568 or at yorktheatreroyal.co.uk.

Reunited: EastEnders soap stars Adam Woodyatt and Laurie Brett in the chilling thriller Looking Good Dead

Thriller of the week: Looking Good Dead, Grand Opera House, York, Tuesday to Saturday

AFTER playing bickering husband and wife Ian and Jane Beale in EastEnders for years and years, Adam Woodyatt and Laurie Brett are re-uniting, this time on stage in Shaun McKenna’s stage adaptation of Peter James’s thriller Looking Good Dead.

No good deed goes unpunished in this story of Woodyatt’s Tom Bryce inadvertently witnessing a vicious murder, only hours after finding a discarded USB memory stick.

Reporting the crime to the police has disastrous consequences, placing him and his family in grave danger. When Detective Superintendent Roy Grace becomes involved, he has his own demons to face while he tries to crack the case in time to save the Bryces’ lives. Box office: 0844 871 7615 or atgtickets.com/York.

Writer, journalist and historian Simon Jenkins: Appearing at York Literature Festival

Festival event of the week: York Literature Festival presents Europe’s 100 Best Cathedrals with Simon Jenkins, St Peter’s School, Clifton, York, tonight, 7pm

FOR Europe’s 100 Best Cathedrals, former editor of the Evening Standard and The Times Simon Jenkins has travelled the continent, from Chartres to York, Cologne to Florence, Toledo to Moscow, to illuminate old favourites and highlight new discoveries.

Tonight he discusses the book’s exploration of Europe’s history, the central role of cathedrals in the European imagination and the stories behind these wonders. Box office: yorkliteraturefestival.co.uk.

That Old Devil Moon, by Richard Kitchen, from Navigators Art’s Moving Pictures exhibition at City Screen Picturehouse

Exhibition of the week: Navigators Art in Moving Pictures, City Screen Picturehouse café and first-floor gallery, until April 15

FROM December’s ashes of the Piccadilly Pop Up Collective studios and gallery in the old York tax office, Navigators Art have re-emerged for a spring exhibition at City Screen.

For their first post-lockdown project, founder Navigators Steve Beadle and Richard Kitchen have invited fellow artist and teacher Timothy Morrison to join them for Moving Pictures: From Fan Art To Fine Art.

“The title is deliberately ambiguous, and we’ve responded to it accordingly,” says Richard. “There are works that relate to cinema and other media but also many of which interpret ‘Moving’ in other ways.”

BC Camplight: Examining madness and loss at The Crescent, York

Rearranged York gig of the week: BC Camplight, supported by Wesley Gonzales, The Crescent, York, Thursday, 7.30pm

MOVED from March 10, BC Camplight’s gig in York highlights the final chapter of his “Manchester trilogy”, Shortly After Takeoff.

“This is an examination of madness and loss,” says BC, full name Brian Christinzio. “I hope it starts a long overdue conversation.”

Fired by his ongoing battle with mental illness, Shortly After Takeoff follows 2018’s Deportation Blues and 2015’s How To Die In The North in responding to BC’s move from his native Philadelphian to Manchester. Cue singer-songwriter classicism, gnarly synth-pop and Fifties’ rock’n’roll. Box office: thecrescentyork.com.

Sanna Jeppsson’s Viola de Lesseps and George Stagnell’s Will Shakespeare in Pick Me Up Theatre’s Shakespeare In Love. Picture: Matthew Kitchen Photography

York premiere of the week: Pick Me Up Theatre in Shakespeare In Love, Theatre@41, Monkgate, York, April 1 to 9

LEE Hall’s 2014 stage adaptation of Shakespeare In Love, the Oscar-winning film written by Tom Stoppard and Marc Norman, celebrates the joys of theatre in Pick Me Up’s first show of 2022.

Directed by Mark Hird, it recounts the love story of struggling young playwright Will Shakespeare (George Stagnell) and feisty, free-thinking noblewoman Viola de Lesseps (Sanna Jeppsson), who helps him overcome writer’s block and becomes his muse.

Against a bustling background of mistaken identity, ruthless scheming and backstage theatrics, Will’s love for Viola blossoms, inspiring him to write Romeo And Juliet. Box office: tickets.41monkgate.co.uk.

Heather Small: Proud moment at York Barbican

Voice of the week: Heather Small, York Barbican, April 2, 7.30pm

BILLED as “The voice of M People”, soul singer Heather Small will be combining songs from her Nineties’ Manchester band with selections from her two solo albums.

As part of M People, she chalked up hits and awards with Moving On Up, One Night In Heaven and Search For The Hero and the albums Elegant Slumming, Bizarre Fruit and Fresco. The title track of her Proud album has since become a staple at multiple ceremonies.

At 57, she will never be one to rest on her laurels: “If you got the feeling I do when I sing, you’d understand,” she reasons. Box office: yorkbarbican.co.uk.

Steven Jobson (Jekyll/Hyde) gets to grips with Matthew Ainsworth (Simon Stride) in rehearsals as York Musical Theatre Company director Matthew Clare looks on

Book early for: York Musical Theatre Company in Jekyll & Hyde The Musical, Joseph Rowntree Theatre, York, May 25 to 28

FLOOR rehearsals are well under way for York Musical Theatre Company’s spring production under the direction of Matthew Clare, who is delighted by how the cast is responding and supporting each other.

The epic struggle between good and evil in Jekyll & Hyde, Robert Louis Stevenson’s tale of myth and mystery on London’s fog-bound streets, comes to stage life in Frank Wildhorn and Leslie Bricusse’s pop-rock musical, where love, betrayal and murder lurk at every chilling twist and turn.

YMTC are running an early bird discount ticket offer with the promo code of JEKYLL22HYDE when booking at josephrowntreetheatre.co.uk by April 10.

Exit Piccadilly Pop Up, but Navigators Art gains new momentum with Moving Pictures exhibition at City Screen. What next?

Cillian Murphy’s Thomas Shelby, from Peaky Blinders, by Steve Beadle in Navigators Art’s Moving Pictures exhibition at City Screen Picturehouse, York

WELCOME to the next chapter in the story of Navigators Art, the York group of artists that found a temporary home at the Piccadilly Pop Up Collective studios and gallery in the old York tax office.

Given notice to vacate the expansive HRMC building in Piccadilly by December 28, to enable redevelopment to start, they have ridden the blow they always knew was coming by mounting an exhibition in the café and on the first-floor corridor gallery at the City Screen Picturehouse in Coney Street until April 15.

For their first post-lockdown project, two founder Navigators, Steve Beadle and Richard Kitchen, have invited fellow artist and teacher Timothy Morrison to join them in the Moving Pictures: From Fan Art To Fine Art exhibition.

Presumably that show title is a nod to films being moving pictures, Richard? “Of course!” he says. “And that’s why we’re glad City Screen wanted us to show there. But the title is deliberately ambiguous, and we’ve responded to it accordingly. There are works that relate to cinema and other media but also many of them interpret ‘Moving’ in other ways.”

That Old Devil Moon, collage, by Richard Kitchen

“Moving” has always been part of Kitchen and Beadle’s artistic endeavours, first as part of a group of MA student artists at York St John University that set up Navigators Art in 2019. Then, as postgraduates, they worked at The Malthouse, the studios and social space set up in a derelict warehouse in The Crescent in November 2019, and latterly at Piccadilly Pop Up, where they exhibited as part of a team and initiated community engagements, such as mentoring young emerging artists from York College.

“Now, the redevelopment of Piccadilly has prompted us to look to resurrect Navigators as a channel for making and showing work,” says Richard, who has taught literature and theatre in Britain and Spain, as well as pursuing his cross-disciplinary artistic practice, fuelled by drawings, paintings, photography and poetry.

“My collage work is influenced by the impact of time, nature and people on the environment,” he says. “It finds value in the unloved and the discarded and suggests we can make sense of a world in crisis – and perhaps re-make it, better – by editing together fragments of experience that offer us hope.”

Richard should have been exhibiting elsewhere in April but the exit from the Piccadilly premises brought him an additional consequence. “I was selected for York Open Studios 2022 but I was later disqualified because we lost the studios in December and the York Open Studios admin team said it was too late to find me another space,” he says.

When it was beautiful: Marcelo Bielsa in his now-terminated days at Leeds United, by Steve Beadle

Nevertheless, the Moving Pictures show gives him an April window, alongside Hull artist Steve Beadle, who pursued a more abstract direction while studying Fine Art at Manchester Metropolitan and York St John University but has returned to a more familiar portrait and figurative style, inspired by characters in the films and popular entertainment that inspired him to make art in the first place. 

Based in York, he works in oil, gouache, watercolour and pencil, creating framed originals and prints and framed originals, and he is always available for portrait commissions.

Moving Pictures’ third artist, Timothy Morrison, has exhibited widely across the UK and in Schleswig Holstein and his work is in the collection of the V&A Museum, London. In 2011-2012, he curated the ArchitekturalReinstallationestival festival at various sites in York. At City Screen, he is exhibiting two “Modern Altarpieces”.

“Art is the religion, and they are ideal for private devotion in the home,” he says, describing works that display a narrative of travel, enlightenment, longing, memory, central urban experiences, metro systems, Magnetic Fields (Champs Magnétiques) and constructivism. “The pictures can’t move, but our eyes and thoughts can,” he propounds.

Modern Altarpieces, by Timothy Morrison, inviting “private devotion” in the cafe at City Screen

Delighted to be exhibiting at City Screen, Steven says: “The café  wall is wonderful; that old brick. Very textural, very organic. Bigger works in particular benefit from being displayed there.

“The upstairs gallery is a more traditional white-wall area, ideal for smaller pieces as you can get right up close. Some of our work rewards a look at the details. We were lucky to be offered both spaces at the same time, which is quite unusual, especially as it coincides with the York Open Studios season.”

Looking ahead, Richard and Steven hope to open up the Navigators Art group to others and to establish a fluid collective of artists, writers and other creatives. 

“We encourage enquiries from potential collaborators, particularly those who are less established and have no regular platform for displaying work,” says Steven. “Navigators can be found on Instagram and Facebook as @navigatorsart.”

Charles Laughton’s Quasimodo in The Hunchback Of Notre Dame, by Steve Beadle, in the Navigators Art show at City Screen

Richard adds: “We’re trying hard to forge ahead as a working unit after the disappointments of losing the Piccadilly studios and consequently York Open Studios too. The group is growing, and we’ll be curating the visual art aspect of York Theatre Royal’s Takeover week from May 9.

“After that, we’re thinking about a series of themed exhibitions featuring a variety of artists and disciplines and we’ll be seeking appropriate venues. We’d welcome suggestions and offers.

“We also want to revive Wordhoard, an event celebrating art and the spoken word, which Steve and I started when we were at The Malthouse studios but went on hold when Covid struck.”

Is there any likelihood of a new home for the artists that gathered in Piccadilly? “There is no news yet,” updates Richard. “We’d love to hear out of the blue that there’s a brilliant empty building just waiting for us! Please email navigatorsart@gmail.com.

Brave New World, by Richard Kitchen

“Steve and I became the main motivators at Piccadilly in terms of community outreach, events and promotion. Some of the others weren’t really involved beyond their own interests, which undermined the collective ideal.

“When it came to an end, however unfortunate it was, it felt like the right time. However, we’d like to host some of the younger artists again who miss their studio space and can’t afford normal rent rates in York.

“It’s a thousand pities that a building like the former HRMC tax office that housed us can’t be taken over and maintained as a vibrant arts centre and community resource. That’s really what we’re after; that’s our ideal. Resources for residents!”

Over the two years at Piccadilly, each week’s artworks, whether painting, drawing and sculpture, or collage, murals, graffiti, street art and photography, went on public view on Saturday afternoons as part of a scheme run by the charity Uthink P.D.P.

The poster for Navigators Art’s Moving Pictures exhibition

“What we miss most, aside from the working space, is the interaction with visitors to the gallery on Saturdays,” says Richard. “For us, it wasn’t just a chance to sell our work. We came to realise that the true value of 23 Piccadilly was in what you couldn’t put a price on.

“Namely, the joy we gave to people who didn’t know what to expect; the safe place of escape and motivation we represented for the unfortunate and the down at heart; the inspiration we gave to other artists; the proof we provided of what can be achieved without money or other good fortune.

“Almost without knowing it, we took it beyond its initial premise and turned it into a very special environment with a part to play in people’s wellbeing and motivation as well as its cultural impact. That’s what we hope to continue to represent in this city and encourage in other creatives here and elsewhere.”

Navigators Art’s Moving Pictures exhibition runs at City Screen Picturehouse, York, until April 15. Admission is free.

More Things To Do in York and beyond, whether locating your ‘inner outlaw’ or just going out. List No. 74, courtesy of The Press

Charles Hutchinson unearths Indian jazz, jive, cabaret, ceramics , 70 years of hits and a candlelit concert for Ukrainian solidarity for your diary.

Re-entry, by Danny Barbour, on show at According To McGee from today

Exhibition launch of the week: Christine Cox, Geoff Cox and Danny Barbour, Unearthed, Pyramid Gallery, Stonegate, York, today until April 24.

CHRSTINE Cox, Geoff Cox and Danny Barbour will be at Terry Brett’s gallery today from 11.30am to 2pm to talk about their Unearthed exhibition.

Pyramid Gallery’s spring show combines Christines ceramics, derived from repeated visits to a Cumbrian sea-cliff; Geoff’s ceramic pots and sculpture, rooted in archaeology and long-lost civilisations, and Danny’s paintings and collages that draw on his fascination with what lies beneath the surface.

“Unearthed features the work of three artists whose work is inspired by the passing of time: changes observed in the built environment and found remnants from the past,” says Terry.

Lady Lounges, ceramic, by Geoff Cox, at According To McGee

Diva at the double: Velma Celli: Me And My Divas, York Theatre Royal, tonight, 7.30pm; Velma Celli: Outlaw Live, National Centre for Early Music, York, doors, 7pm; show, 8pm

YORK’S drag diva deluxe, Velma Celli, returns to York Theatre Royal for “an overindulgent diva fest celebrating the songs and behaviour of all your favourite divas” with York singer Jess Steel and West End leading lady Gina Murray.

This cabaret night of impressions and banter celebrates Whitney, Aretha, Bassey, Streisand, Garland, Cilla, Dolly, Madonna, Adele, Sia and latest addition Jessie J.

Next Friday, Velma and York Gin launch Outlaw Live, an outrageous night of cabaret and gin at the NCEM, raising a glass to Guy Fawkes, Dick Turpin and all that’s villainous and defiantly naughty about York and its outlaws. Box office: tickettailor.com/events/yorkgin/590817.

“Explore your inner outlaw”: Velma Celli in Outlaw Live mode

Welcome to the Pleasure dome: King Pleasure & The Biscuit Boys, Selby Town Hall, tonight, 8pm

AFTER 6,500 performances across 21 countries in more than 30 years on the road, the jump, jive and swing band King Pleasure & The Biscuit Boys bring their high octane, good-time show to Selby.

The sartorially sharp British band have performed their dance-hall rhythm & blues opening for BB King, Cab Calloway and Ray Charles and have toured with the Blues Brothers Band from the movie. Box office: 01757 708449 or selbytownhall.co.uk.

King Pleasure & The Biscuit Boys: In the swing at Selby Town Hall

Jazz gig of the week: Arun Ghosh and Yaatri, The Crescent, York, Thursday, 7.30pm

IN a showcase of Indian-influenced jazz, York promoter Ouroboros presents award-winning clarinettist Arun Ghosh’s return to The Crescent to perform music from new album Seclused In Light. Ghosh and his band deliver a passionate sound driven by soaring melodies, hypnotic rhythms and transcendental textures as he melds jazz with  jazz myriad of musical influences, from jungle to punk, blues to Bollywood.

Support act Yaatri are an art-rock/jazz crossover five-piece, formed in Leeds in 2018, led by Indian/American guitarist and composer Liam Narain DeTar. Box office: thecrescentyork.seetickets.com.

Arun Ghosh: Showcasing his Seclused In Light album at The Crescent, York. Picture: Emile Holba

Why life is a minestrone: 10cc, The Ultimate Greatest Hits Tour, York Barbican, March 26, 7.30pm

CO-FOUNDER Graham Gouldman leads 10cc on their return to the concert stage after the lockdown lull, as the art-rock icons perform the chart-topping I’m Not In Love, Rubber Bullets and Dreadlock Holiday alongside eight more top ten hits.

Bass and guitar player Gouldman, 75, is joined by lead guitarist Rick Fenn, drummer Paul Burgess, keyboards player Keith Hayman and vocalist Iain Hornal. Box office: yorkbarbican.co.uk.

Graham Gouldman and 10cc: Playing their greatest hits at York Barbican

Candlelit concert of the week: The Ebor Singers, How Do You Keep The Music Playing?, Chapter House, York Minster, March 26, 7.30pm

THE Ebor Singers return to the Chapter House for the first time since March 2020 to celebrate being together again, while pausing to reflect on what society has endured together.

The candlelit programme features Allegri’s Miserere; choral pieces by Whitacre and Esenwalds; an arrangement of Michel Legrand’s jazz classic How Do You Keep The Music Playing? and premieres of two lockdown commissions, Kerensa Briggs’s The Inner Light and Philip Moore’s O Vos Omnes.

In solidarity with the people of Ukraine, the singers perform works by Kyiv composer Valentin Silvestrov, 84, who managed to leave the country safely last week. Tickets: on the door or at tickets.yorkminster.org.

The Ebor Singers: First Chapter House concert at York Minster since March 2020

Nostalgia of the week: 70 Years Of Pop Music, Joseph Rowntree Theatre, York, March 27, 7.30pm

THIS year marks the 70th anniversary of the dawn of the British pop charts, when Al Martino claimed the first number one spot with Here In My Heart on November 20 2022.

Don Pears’ singers and musicians take a journey through the decades from Perry Como and Doris Day to Adele and Ed Sheeran in this fundraiser for the JoRo theatre.  

“Somewhere between A for Abba and Z for ZZ Top, whether you are a fan of the Fifties and Sixties or the Nineties and Noughties, there will be music that will delight you,” promises Don. Box office: 01904 501935 or josephrowntreetheatre.co.uk.

Eboracum Baroque: Heading back to the alehouses of 17th century England

Baroque’n’roll: Eboracum Baroque, Purcell And A Pint, York Mansion House, St Helen’s Square, York, May 7, 7.30pm

EBORACUM Baroque are teaming up with York Gin for an evening of rowdy drinking songs, fiddle tunes, alongside music by Purcell and baroque composers “he might have had a pint with”.

“This time our concert is called Purcell And A Pint, sadly not a pint of gin but you still get a free gin on arrival!”, says trumpet player and percussionist Chris Parsons.

“We’ll transport you back to the alehouses of 17th century England. Taverns were raucous surroundings and overflowed with music, alcohol, sex, gossip, fights, fumes, shouting, singing, laughing, dancing. Our performance won’t have all of these – but audience participation is a must.” Box office: eboracumbaroque.co.uk.

Kimbal Bumstead and Simon Crawford unite to bring bursts of profuse colour to According To McGee in synchronised show

Painter Kimbal Bumstead stands outside According To McGee against a backdrop of the soon-to-reopen Clifford’s Tower

YORK gallery According To McGee launches its Return Of The Painter 2022 series with a duo exhibition by painters Kimbal Bumstead and Simon Crawford.

Gallery co-directors Greg and Ails McGee have opted to put the emphasis on scale and colour. “But it’s not just the ‘wow’ factor,” says Ails. “There are deeper meanings behind the collections of Kimbal and Simon. This, and the fact that their latest paintings dovetail so well with each other, means that the time is right to hand over the reins to both of these fascinating artists.”

Bumstead and Crawford are synchronising their creativity for the first time for this show’s run from Saturday until Monday, April 4 at the Tower Street gallery.

Bumstead, new to York but with years of experience of painting under his belt, brings a new energy to the gallery buoyed by exhibiting in Sheffield, Tokyo, Amsterdam and at the Mall Galleries in London, as well as teaching abstract art classes with York Learning.

“It’s really thrilling to be an artist,” he says. “My job is to bring things into existence that weren’t there before, and I use colour and mark-making to get there. But there are other aspects too. These paintings aren’t just experiments in colour, nor are they just expressions of feelings, they are also explorations of journeys into other worlds.”

Painter Kimbal Bumstead, right, with All Saints School students Emma Storkey, George Clarke and Emmanuelle Butler, on work experience at According To McGee

The Kimbal Bumstead collection, Segments Of Journeys, hangs on the wall of the front gallery opposite Clifford’s Tower, where they “pulse and shimmer, suggesting memories and half-formed ideas”.

“The subject matter isn’t fixed, it’s yet to be defined,” says Bumstead. “If the idea of journeying is the building block of the painting, the overarching theme is that there’s no destination.

“I love the process of trying to let go and getting lost in the painting. That’s a positive to me and reflects on how I live my life. Stuff happens, you navigate it, and hopefully you enjoy the process.

“I like trying to see a street differently each time I walk down it, and the same goes for my paintings. Each time I look at them, I find something new, something I hadn’t noticed before.”

Bumstead points to the intersecting colours and mark making on the surfaces of his paintings, with some strokes sliding into areas that had been painted much earlier. “It’s like landscapes,” he says. “I like how a landscape in real life has different layers. Physical layers, ideas that people project, memories, different stories, traces of the old next to the new. It’s something I’m really keen on capturing.”

Cool Shade, Running Water, by Simon Crawford

Explaining further, he says: “It’s not dissimilar to experiencing York as a city. On the one hand, you see what’s on the surface, the old buildings next to new ones, but then there’s another world, the one you have to imagine, the one where different stories have taken place and settled like sediment. That’s really the case with this collection; there is not just one way of seeing it.”

Gallery co-director Greg says: “It’s heavy stuff, but at its heart it’s an antidote to the current obsession with targets and data. This is less harnessing data and more harnessing dreams, which is a priority in most artists’ manifestos.”

On the opposite wall hangs Cool Shade And Hot Light, the new collection by Knaresborough artist Simon Crawford. “In terms of scope and vividity, the collections complement each other, with Simon’s approach perhaps more relatively literal in his depictions of his experiences,” says Greg.

Crawford’s work comes in response to his travels in India. “To call it a ‘life-changing experience’ is to underestimate it,” he says. “It brought me new textures and colours, and I have been trying to skewer them in my palette and on the surface of my canvases since. I think this collection is a true representation of what I saw and how I saw it.”

After exhibitions in Dean Clough galleries in Halifax, Moscow galleries and Messums North, he brings his impressionistic portraits of India to According To McGee, much to Greg’s delight.

Surrounded by colour: Painter Simon Crawford with his artworks at According To McGee

“What’s especially great is that when Simon now turns his attention to northern subject matters, he filters his depictions through the conduit of tropical heat, so that you get Rievaulx Abbey endowed with the glittering humidity of an Indian jungle,” he says.

“It’s witty and sensual, and it’s exactly what we’re looking for in our search for more excellent painters to represent. Simon’s use of colour is instantly recognisable, and it’s humbling to see he’s showing no signs of backing down.”

Ails adds: “The Punjabi palette seems to work really well with our collectors, especially here in the north. Whether it’s from Simon or Kimbal, or from McGee favourites like Amrik Varkalis, a fearless celebration of hot colour connects with clients. Whether that’s down to the general doom and gloom of our times, or the drizzly weather, we haven’t worked out yet!

“But we’ve worked hard on curating this exhibition, helped in no small way by Emma Storkey, Emmanuelle Butler and George Clarke, who, as Year 10 students from All Saints School, have spent ten days on work experience with us.”

Return Of The Painter 2022: Kimbal Bumstead and Simon Crawford launches at According To McGee, Tower Street, York, on Saturday at 12 noon and closes on April 4. Gallery opening hours: Monday to Friday, 11am to 3pm; Saturdays, 11am to 4pm; or by appointment on 07973 653702.

Colours From A Hot Land, by Simon Crawford

Pocklington Arts Centre seeks artists for show to mark The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee

One’s Vision: Illustrator Simon Cooper celebrates The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee by imagining Her Majesty striking a Freddie Mercury pose with Queen loyal subjects John Deacon, Roger Taylor and Brian May. Copyright: @cooperillo

POCKLINGTON Arts Centre has issued a call-out to artists for an open exhibition to celebrate Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II’s Platinum Jubilee from May 3 to June 19. 

Artists are asked to submit two-dimensional artworks in person on Friday, April 22 or by prior arrangement by emailing info@pocklingtonartscentre.co.uk.

PAC director Janet Farmer says: “This is a really special moment in our history, so we wanted to present an exhibition that reflects this. Artworks can be inspired by any aspect of Her Majesty’s 70-year reign and the subject matter is open to creative interpretation.

“Our open exhibitions are always really popular with artists and visitors alike, and with so many local talented artists, we’re very much looking forward to unveiling this very special commemorative exhibition.”

Artworks should be framed or on canvas with D rings attached. Selected works will then be featured in this spring’s show in PAC’s studio, where a preview will be held on May 3 from 5pm to 7pm.

Everingham illustrator Simon Cooper has submitted his jubilee artwork already. This comes in the wake of his Art, Illustration & Prints exhibition, held at PAC last November to January, featuring his work for NME, Time Out, the Radio Times and Punch magazines alongside new works.

More Things To Do in York and beyond the norm as horror shows and love stories beckon. List No. 73, courtesy of The Press

2,000 shows and counting: Kristian Lavercombe, as Riff Raff, far right, clocks up another milestone in The Rocky Horror Show on its return to York . Picture: David Freeman

LET’S do The Time Warp again? It’s just a jump to the left, and then a step to right, to enjoy plenty more of Charles Hutchinson’s recommendations.

Fancy dress invitation of the week: Richard O’Brien’s Rocky Horror Show, Grand Opera House, York, Monday to Saturday

KRISTIAN Lavercombe celebrates his 2,000th performance as Riff Raff as Richard O’Brien’s 1973 musical extravaganza enjoys yet another York run.

Alongside Lavercombe in Christopher Luscombe’s touring production will be 2016 Strictly Come Dancing winner Ore Oduba as preppy college nerd Brad Majors, Haley Flaherty as squeaky-clean fiancée Janet Weiss and Stephen Webb as castle-dwelling Transylvanian transsexual doctor Frank-N-Furter.

Cue fabulously camp fun and even camper costumes, shlock-horror comedy and science-fiction send-ups, audiences in fancy dress and sassy songs such as Sweet Transvestite, Science Fiction/Double Feature and The Time-Warp singalong. Box office: 0844 871 7615 or atgtickets.com/York.

New Beverly Cinema, by Imogen Hawgood, at According To McGee, York

Exhibition launch of the week: Imogen Hawgood and Horace Panter, Hyperrealism in America and Japan, at According To McGee, Tower Street, York, from 11am today until March 25

NEW According To McGee signing Imogen Hawgood, from County Durham, introduces her collection of realist paintings in a duo show with Pop artist and Ska legend Horace Panter, The Specials’ bassist.

Panter’s Edward Hopper-inspired depictions of Midwest motels, inner-lit Japanese kiosks and sun-warmed Coca-Cola crates complement Hawgood’s exploration of Americana icons and the idea of “the road” as a transitional landscape.

The vampire strikes back: Steve Steinman’s Baron von Rockula with his vampettes in Vampires Rock – Ghost Story

Rock horror show: Steve Steinman’s Vampires Rock – Ghost Train, Grand Opera House, York, tonight (12/3/2022), 7.30pm

NOTTINGHAM singer and producer Steve Steinman returns to York with his tongue-in-cheek show stacked high with rock anthems, guitar gods and vampy vampettes.

Steinman’s Baron von Rockula and his vampires take refuge in an old fairground’s ghost train as he seeks a new virginial wife after the death of his beloved Pandora. Ordering faithful sidekick Bosley to find him one, enter Roxy Honeybox.

Now in its 20th year, Vampires Rock sets a cast of singers, dancers and musicians loose on Queen, AC/DC, Bonnie Tyler, Meat Loaf, Bon Jovi, Journey and Guns N’ Roses chestnuts. Box office: 0844 871 7615 or atgtickets.com/York.

Glenn Tilbrook: Squeezing in hit after hit at The Crescent

York gig of the week: Glenn Tilbrook, The Crescent, York, Sunday, 7.30pm

THIS is a standing show…and an outstanding one too as endearing and enduring Deptford singer, songwriter, guitarist and troubadour Glenn Tilbrook makes his debut appearance at The Crescent.

More than 45 years after he first answered an ad placed by Chris Difford looking for like-minded sorts to form the band that became the evergreen Squeeze, an ending is nowhere in sight, even if he called his fourth solo album Happy Ending in 2014. Expect silver-tongued Squeeze and solo numbers, peppered with audience requests, tomorrow night.

Squeeze up, by the way, because this Gig Cartel-promoted gig has sold out. Fingers crossed for any returns (www.thecrescentyork.com), but otherwise you’re really up the junction for a ticket.

Alexander McCall Smith: Delving into his books at York Theatre Royal

Literary event of the week: Alexander McCall Smith, York Theatre Royal, Monday, 7.30pm

YORK Literature Festival plays host to Alexander McCall Smith as he discusses the new instalment in his long-running Scotland Street series, the warm-hearted, humorous and wise Love In The Time Of Bertie.

Fiona Lindsay pops the questions, intertwined with footage shot on location in Edinburgh, wherein McCall Smith invites guests into his study, where he writes surrounded by paintings and books, and visits key landmarks from the books.

The festival follows from March 18 to 27 with full details at yorkliteraturefestival.co.uk. Box office: 01904 623568 or at yorktheatreroyal.co.uk.

NOT Thu 17 March 2022 after all: It’s different for Joe Jackson now as York gig moves to the summer

Postponement of the week: Joe Jackson, Sing, You Sinners! Tour, York Barbican, moving from March 17 to July 29

BLAME Covid for this delay to only the second ever York concert of singer, songwriter and consummate arranger Joe Jackson’s 44-year career.

“After months of uncertainty, it finally became clear that continuing Covid restrictions (particularly on venue capacity) in certain countries, would make our Spring European Tour un-viable as planned,” says Jackson’s official statement. “We can’t tour at a loss, and the situation did not look like changing soon enough.”

Tickets remain valid for the new July 29 date when Jackson promises hits, songs not aired in years and new material. Box office: yorkbarbican.co.uk.

Sam Freeman: Thirty years of love burst out of his storytelling show in Harrogate and York

Storytelling show of the week: Sam Freeman, Every Little Hope You Ever Dreamed (But Didn’t Want To Mention), Cold Bath Brewery Co Clubhouse, Harrogate, Monday, 7.30pm; York Theatre Royal Studio, Friday, 7.45pm

FORMER York Theatre Royal marketing officer and 2009 TakeOver Festival co-director Sam Freeman heads back to his old stamping ground with his solo rom-com for the lonely hearted and the loved-up, armed with a projector, a notebook, wonky spectacles and nods to Richard Curtis’s Notting Hill.

Freeman, marketeer, occasional writer, director and stand-up comedian, combines storytelling and whimsical northern comedy in his multi-layered story of a chance encounter between two soulmates, how they fall in love, then part but may meet again. Box office: Harrogate, harrogatetheatre.co.uk; York, 01904 623568 or yorktheatreroyal.co.uk.

For Charles Hutchinson and Graham Chalmers’ interview with podcast special guest Sam Freeman, head to the Two Big Egos In A Small Car listening link at: https://www.buzzsprout.com/1187561/10231399.

Off to the woods: Northern Broadsides in As You Like It

Shaking up Shakespeare: Northern Broadsides in As You Like It, Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough, Tuesday to Saturday; York Theatre Royal, March 23 to 26

MARKING Northern Broadsides’ 30th anniversary, artistic director Laurie Sansom’s diverse cast of 12 northern actors captures the “sheer joy of live performance and the crazy power of love to change the world” in his bold, refreshing take on Shakespeare’s most musical comedy.

Exiled from the court, high-spirited Rosalind, devoted cousin Celia and drag queen Touchstone encounter outlaws, changing seasons and life unconfined by rigid codes in the forest.

Gender roles dissolve and assumptions are turned on their head in a natural world of endless possibilities. Box office: Scarborough, 01723 370541 or sjt.uk.com; York, 01904 623568 or yorktheatreroyal.co.uk.

Lola May as daughter Aramide, Oyi Oriya as mother Omotola and Anni Domingo as grandmother Agbeke in Utopia Theatre’s Here’s What She Said To Me

Touring show of the week: Utopia Theatre in Here’s What She Said To Me, York Theatre Royal Studio, Thursday and Friday, 7.45pm

MEET Agbeke, Omotola and Aramide, three generations of proud African women connecting with each other across two continents, time and space, in Oladipo Agboluaje’s distaff drama, conceived and directed by York St John University graduate Mojisola Elufowoju.

Together the women share their struggles, their joys, tragedies and broken dreams, in order to find healing in the present. Box office: 01904 623568 or yorktheatreroyal.co.uk.

Going beyond the fashionable Bloomsbury Group to paint a fuller picture of 20th century world of art, literature and love

Becky Gee, curator of fine art for York Museums Trust, at the launch of the Beyond Bloomsbury exhibition at York Art Gallery. Picture: Charlotte Graham, courtesy of York Museums Trust

BEYOND Bloomsbury: Life, Love & Legacy, the spring exhibition at York Art Gallery, explores the extraordinary lives and work of the Bloomsbury Group of writers, artists and thinkers.

Active in England in the first half of the 20th century, the amorphous but amorous group met for 30 years, but with their unconventional lifestyles, bohemian airs and smart London and southern country addresses, they have since drawn opprobrium for their elitism as much as praise for the artistic acuity, audacity and intellect of writer and feminist pioneer Virginia Woolf, her sister, painter Vanessa Bell, and their contemporaries.

Acerbic New York satirist, poet, writer and critic Dorothy Parker famously drew on geometric imagery to say the prolific, passionate and hugely gifted group “lived in squares, painted in circles and loved in triangles”.

Now, Beyond Bloomsbury finds a different angle, telling the story of not only the artists, but also the group’s writers, dancers, activists and philanthropists, as York Art Gallery and exhibition partners Sheffield Museums and the National Portrait Gallery showcase 60 major loans of oil paintings, sculpture, drawings and by Bell, Dora Carrington, Roger Fry, Duncan Grant, Paul Nash, Gwen Raverat and Ray Strachey.

Alongside them are four new portraits by Sahara Longe, commissioned by York Museums Trust and Sheffield Museums to respond to the Bloomsbury Group and the exhibition themes.

Becky Gee, curator of fine art at York Museums Trust, says: “We proposed a show at York Art Gallery to the National Portrait Gallery in 2019, and when they said they were looking for a gallery to tour it to too, that’s when Sheffield Museums became involved, and we worked closely together on the research.

“The exhibition should have opened here, but then Covid intervened, so Sheffield hosted it first at the Millennium Gallery.”

York Art Gallery staff take in the expanse of Lydia Caprani’s expansive mural wall at the Beyond Bloomsbury exhibition. Picture: Charlotte Graham, courtesy of York Museums Trust

Now, for the York run, Bloomsbury-inspired murals and fireplaces by graphic artist Lydia Caprani have been added, while Caprani has worked collaboratively with York LGBT Forum and Kyra Women’s Group to create decorative pieces to complement the Bloomsbury works.

“The reason I proposed this show is that, firstly, I knew the National Portrait Gallery had a strong holding of Bloomsbury Group artworks, offering the chance to equally profile the work of men and women: highlighting women’s art, women’s histories,” says Becky.

“Because of the nature of the portraits, we could tell the stories of writers, dancers and activists, as well the artists.”

Equally important to Becky was a desire “for a long time to examine how LGBT histories and women’s histories are present in our own York Art Gallery collection, whether through the artists identifying as LGBT or through the subject matter.

“I knew that the Bloomsbury Group were involved in a lot of gay relationships, so we worked with York LGBT Forum, and there’s now a permanent display on that theme.

“To make that work happen, it’s good to attach it to a bigger project and I knew that would be a way to work with the LGBT Forum.”

Explaining the reasoning behind the Sahara Longe commissions, Becky says: “I thought, it’s not good enough just to put the LGBT histories and women’s histories on show, but we should also look at how the Bloomsbury Group was not progressive in certain areas.

Roger Fry’s portrait of Edith Sitwell in the Beyond Bloomsbury: Life, Love & Legacy exhibition at York Art Gallery. Picture: Charlotte Graham, courtesy of York Museums Trust

“It soon became apparent that the collection we were working with was not telling the full story, so to broaden that narrative, Sahara was perfect to work with. 

“She studied painting at a very traditional Italian school, studying the techniques of master painters, and in her work she places Black figures in spaces traditionally filled by white portrait subjects, and luckily she thought it was right to do the portraits for this exhibition in a post-Impressionist style.”

Among Sahara’s portraits – along with novelist Mulk Raj Anand, Black queer Jamaican dancer and choreographer Berto Pasuka and Patrick Nelson, Jamaican boyfriend of Bloomsbury Group artist Duncan Grant – is the Jamaican writer and activist Una Marson, painted in oils on jute. 

“She was the first Black woman to broadcast on the BBC, and as far as I’m aware, there have been no portraits of her until now. She featured in Voice, a radio series produced by Goerge Orwell for the India section on the BBC Eastern Service in 1941, and she wrote poetry and plays, as well as her radio broadcasts, many of which contributed to her feminist, anti-colonial and anti-racist actions.”

Visitors move through three galleries, the first introducing the figures associated with the Bloomsbury Group, highlighting the importance of personal relationships, conversation and the privilege of time and space wherein to pursue creative practice.

Even if Vanessa Bell expressed initial disquiet at moving to Charleston Farmhouse in the Sussex countryside in 1916 with her sons Quentin and Julian: “It will be an odd life…but it seems to me it might be a good one for painting,” she wrote.

The second centres on the Omega Workshops, an enterprise established by Roger Fry in 1913 to sell furniture, fabrics and homeware designed by leading artists of the day, plus the rival Rebel Arts Centre. 

Becky Gee, curator of fine art at York Museums Trust, who worked for three years to put the Beyond Bloomsbury exhibition together . Picture: David Harrison

The third gallery focuses on activism and philanthropy, identifying causes of importance to group members and highlighting how such beliefs shaped the group’s collective mentality, such as being involved in establishing the Contemporary Art Society, in which York Art Gallery has played its part since the 1920s.

Summing up Beyond Bloomsbury, Becky says: “One of our aims is to celebrate the good but to critique the bad too, because if we didn’t do that, we’d just be telling the same story again.”

Oh, and should you be wondering what an exhibition about a bunch of posh arty southerners is doing in a Yorkshire gallery, Becky is quick to point out: “Look out for the portrait of Edward Carpenter, who lived just outside Sheffield.

“He was a Victorian gay rights activist and writer, so he’s from the generation just before the Bloomsbury Group, and he influenced EM Forster, a gay writer who did not come out in his lifetime.

“Edith Sitwell features in the exhibition, and the Sitwells had Scarborough connections, owning Woodend in the resort.”

Beyond Bloomsbury: Life, Love & Legacy runs at York Art Gallery until June 5. To book tickets, go to: yorkartgallery.org.uk.

Morgan Feely, senior curator at York Museums Trust, stands by Vanessa Bell’s portrait of David “Bunny” Garnett, painted in oil and gouache on cardboard, at the Beyond Bloomsbury exhibition. Picture: David Harrison