Michaela Yearwood-Dan brings flower power 2024 style to York Art Gallery for National Treasures: Monet in York

Artist Michaela Yearwood-Dan, on her 30th birthday, stands between her Una Sinfonia works Ready,Steady, GO! (Spring) and The Girls Take Their Places (Summer) at York Art Gallery. Picture: Charlotte Graham. The works are the copyright of Michaela Yearwood-Dan, courtesy of the artist and Marianne Boesky Gallery, New York and Aspen

WHERE better for internationally acclaimed artist Michaela Yearwood-Dan to spend her 30th birthday than at the launch of her commissioned contribution to National Treasures: Monet in York at York Art Gallery.

On show until September 8, Una Sinfonia is Londoner Michaela’s response to French Impressionist Claude Monet’s 1899 masterpiece The Water-Lily Pond, the centrepiece of one of 12 exhibitions nationwide to mark the National Gallery’s bicentenary – and the only one in Yorkshire.

“Being commissioned to make this new body of work in response to Monet’s legacy – and The Water-Lily Pond in particular – is a huge honour as an artist and former and forever student of painting,” said Michaela when her commission was announced.

“Having the opportunity as an artist from my varied list of demographics to be introduced into a conversation around this work of one of the world’s most historically significant European artists is an enormous milestone, and one I could not have imagined at this stage in my career.

“Taking inspiration from the way Monet formulated his bodies of work, I am very pleased with how this new series, ‘Una Sinfonia’, has turned out.”

Moving freely between oils, acrylics, pastels, beads, glitter, ceramic petals, floral and botanical motifs and text, Una Sinfonia comprises nine new lush, richly textured works. Four large pieces, one for each season, are complemented by five paper works, influenced by Japanese prints, now sharing gallery space with such artists as Roy Lichtenstein and Utagawa Hiroshige, as well as Monet’s radical, influential painting from the National Gallery collection.

“The way I work and how I work, the movement in the pieces, you can ‘see’ the musicality in that,” says Michaela Yearwood-Dan

Explaining the Italian title of Una Sinfonia, Michaela says: “I love Italy; I don’t necessarily love Italian politics, but it’s a gorgeous place, and when I think of plein-air painting, I think of Italy.

“Two years ago, I was in Brescia for six weeks at Palazzo Monti, living in this palazzo, able to walk around the streets and go to the churches, and it was a joy.”

As the title would indicate, music was an influence too on her abstract works. “The way I work and how I work, the movement in the pieces, you can ‘see’ the musicality in that,” says Michaela.

“There are pieces of music that make me want to paint,” she adds, before recalling her musical upbringing. “At school I was in the orchestra and choir and did Saturday morning sessions till I was 15 – and then became a teenager and developed ‘teenage shame’.

“So theatre and music have always been important to me – and Italian culture lends itself to that.”

The Girls Take Their Places, 2024, oil, beads and ceramic on canvas, by Michaela Yearwood-Dan. Copyright of Michaela Yearwood-Dan, courtesy of the artist and Marianne Boesky Gallery, New York and Aspen

She was inspired too by Monet’s love of painting a subject in each season and his fascination with the changing quality of light in those seasons. “I was thinking about seasons and how symphonies are split into sections, and then thought of the music that maybe Monet would be listening to,” she says.

Michaela favours R&B, neo-soul, lo-fi, indie rock, as well as classical music. “There’s rarely a moment or situation in my studio, from the moment I walk in, when I’m not playing something, if not music, podcasts,” she says. “I tend to listen to podcasts when I’m doing more the more intimate works, like the paper works.”

Michaela, who paints in the studio from her photographic studies in the open air, has always loved flowers. “My mum [who lives in Leeds] has a folder from when I was a child, when I used to draw flowers a lot. It’s the physical form I love,” she says.

“But when you go into the art education system, you’re told to abandon simple things, but there’s something nice about using something simple. Flowers are beautiful to look at; they represent life, a short life span; they represent mortality.

“They have political connotations too: we wear flowers to remember fallen soldiers and to recall conflicts. So flowers have always felt an interesting subject matter.”

Consequently, Michaela’s “visual language” draws on such influences as Blackness, queerness, femininity, healing rituals and carnival culture (from childhood days in both London and Chapeltown, Leeds).

Recalling the early works of David Hockney, verbal language is important to Michaela’s works too, not only in the titles but also the use of phrases in several paintings and even messages on notepaper.

Everything’s gone green: Journalist Charles Hutchinson and artist Michaela Yearwood-Dan with her spring work, Ready,Steady, GO!, from Una Sinfonia. Artwork copyright of Michaela Yearwood-Dan, courtesy of the artist and Marianne Boesky Gallery, New York and Aspen

“I grew up with a dad who always took notes in a notebook,” she says. “The mobile phone has been a great development in technology, so if I have an interesting conversation or hear lyrics I like, I can write things down.

“The text I use in my paintings is always revealing or concealing because my works have a diaristic element.”

Michaela’s preference is for the viewer to “take in the movement, the colours, first, and only then look at the title and the text and take it all in”. A case in point is one of the paper works. Its title? Be My Protector. That sets you thinking, but even more so when you read the wording down the left-hand side: “It’s Too Hard To Think About What Happened”. Twice over, the response changes beyond reaction to shape, texture and colour. “It annoys me when many artists leave large works untitled,” she says.

“I like art to ask questions, for a work to have a conversation with itself, to ask a question, answer a question, ask another question. It’s nice for people to say, ‘I like this painting, and this is the reason’, but it’s always good to be questioning.”

Michaela, who names spring and autumn as her favourite seasons, reflects on what first drew her to Monet’s joy in nature. “His paintings clearly have a positive feeling, which is my favourite feeling that people get from a painting,” she says. Bang on the Monet, Michaela.

National Treasures: Monet in York – The Water-Lily Pond, in full bloom at York Art Gallery until September 8. Opening hours: Wednesday to Sunday, 10am to 5pm.

What’s On in Ryedale, York and beyond when Monet…that’s what you want. Here’s Hutch’s List No. 15, from Gazette & Herald

Florally attired York Art Gallery senior curator Dr Beatrice Bertram stands by Claude Monet’s The Water-Lily Pond, on loan from the National Gallery. Picture: Charlotte Graham

FROM Monet to Martin Carthy, a Shakespeare play in a day to Henry VIII’s life and loves, teenage blues to country rambles, Charles Hutchinson sees how the cultural land lies.

Exhibition of the summer: National Treasures: Monet In York: The Water-Lily Pond, York Art Gallery, in bloom until September 8

FRENCH Impressionist painter Claude Monet’s 1899 work, The Water-Lily Pond, forms the York centrepiece and trigger point for the National Gallery’s bicentenary celebrations in tandem with York Art Gallery. 

On show are key loans from regional and national institutions alongside York Art Gallery collection works and a large-scale commission by contemporary artist Michaela Yearwood-Dan, Una Sinfonia. Monet’s canvas is explored in the context of 19th-century French open-air painting, pictures by his early mentors and the Japanese prints that transformed his practice and beloved gardens in Giverny. Tickets: yorkartgallery.org.uk.

Steven Arran: Directing Shakespeare’s Speakeasy’s debut play in a day in York at Theatre@41, Monkgate

York debut of the week: Shakespeare’s Speakeasy, Theatre@41, Monkgate, York, tonight (16/5/2024), 7.30pm

SHAKESPEARE’S Speakeasy is heading from Newcastle to York for the first time, making its Theatre@41 debut under the directorship of Steven Arran. “It’s Shakespeare, but it’s secret,” he says. “Can a group of strangers successfully stage a Shakespearean play in a day? Shakespeare’s Speakeasy is the place for you to find out.”

After learning lines over the past four weeks, the cast featuring the likes of Claire Morley, Esther Irving and Ian Giles meets for the first time on Thursday morning to rehearse an irreverent, entertaining take on one of Bill’s best-known plays, culminating in a public performance. Which one? “Like all good Speakeasys, that’s a secret,” says Arran. Box office: tickets.41monkgate.co.uk.

Sarah McQuaid: Playing Helmsley Arts Centre on Friday

Folk gig of the week: Sarah McQuaid, Helmsley Arts Centre, Friday, 7.30pm

BORN in Madrid to a Spanish father and folk-singing American mother, raised in Chicago and holding dual Irish and American citizenship, singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Sarah McQuaid is long settled in west Cornwall.

She has released six albums, When Two Lovers Meet (1997), I Won’t Go Home ’Til Morning (2008), Crow Coyote Buffalo (written and recorded with Zoe Pollock under the name Mama, 2008), The Plum Tree And The Rose (2012), Walking Into White (2015), If We Dig Any Deeper It Could Get Dangerous (2018) and The St Buryan Sessions (2021). Box office: 01439 771700 or helmsleyarts.co.uk.

Jack Abbot’s Henry VIII: Regal performance in Divorced, Beheaded, Died at Milton Rooms, Malton

History lesson of the week: Divorced, Beheaded, Died – An Evening With King Henry VIII, Milton Rooms, Malton, Friday, 7.30pm

THE year is 1544, when King Henry VIII is engaged on royal progress about his realm, halting in Malton on Friday to afford his loyal subjects the opportunity to have “audience” with their sovereign lord and king.

In Select Society Theatre Company’s one-man, two-act show, Jack Abbot’s Henry recounts the events of his life and long reign with tales of his wives and children, concluding with an audience Q&A. DNA tests, by the way, have revealed that Jack is Henry’s 21st cousin, six times removed. Box office: 01653 696240 or themiltonrooms.com.

Toby Lee: Blues prodigy heads to the Fulford Arms on Saturday

Blues gig of the week: Toby Lee, Fulford Arms, York, Saturday, 7.30pm

BLUES rock prodigy Toby Lee, the 19-year-old Oxfordshire guitarist and singer, will be playing 100 shows home and abroad this year, 40 of them his own headline gigs, 60 as a special guest of boogie-woogie pianist Jools Holand.

The 2023 Young Blues Musician of the Year learned his trade playing Zack Mooneyham in the first West End production of School Of Rock and has since shared stages with his hero Joe Bonamassa, Buddy Guy, Peter Frampton and Slash. First up, Fulford Arms on Saturday, then come Jools engagements at York Barbican on December 1 and Leeds First Direct Arena on December 20. Box office: ticketweb.uk/event/toby-lee-the-fulford-arms-tickets/13366163.

A seascape by artist Ione Harrison, who leads Sunday’s workshop at Helmsley Arts Centre

Workshop of the week: Seascapes with artist Ione Harrison, Helmsley Arts Centre, Sunday, 10am to 1pm

ARTIST Ione Harrison hosts a workshop suitable for all levels, from beginners to anyone wanting to explore new techniques, exploring the magic of watercolour in a mindful and playful way – no drawing needed.

Participants will create two atmospheric seascapes of the North Yorkshire coast, with room for artistic licence, using a limited but vibrant palette, trying out fun techniques, such as cling film, spatter and wax resist, plus raditional washes and wet-on-wet painting. Refreshments will be available. Bookings: visit ioneharrison.co.uk/book-online. 

Mikron Theatre cast members Eddie Ahrens, left, Mark Emmon, Georgina Liley and Lauren Robinson: Presenting an outdoor performance of Common Ground at Scarcoft Allotments, York, on Sunday afternoon. Picture: Robling Photography

Touring play of the week: Mikron Theatre in Common Ground, Scarcroft Allotments, Scarcroft Road, York, Sunday, 2pm

ON tour on narrow boat and canal, van and land until October 18, Marsden company Mikron Theatre present Common Ground, writer and lyricist Poppy Hollman’s hike through the history of land access in England, where only eight per cent of land is designated “open country”.

Under the direction of Gitika Buttoo, actor-musicians Eddie Ahrens, Georgina Liley, Lauren Robinson and Mark Emmon tell the tale of the fictional Pendale and District Ramblers as they look forward to celebrating their 50th anniversary walk, but the path has been blocked by the landowner. How will they find their way through? No reserved seating or tickets required;  a “pay what you feel” collection will be taken post-show.

Martin Carthy: Folk trailblazer

Gig announcement of the week: Martin Carthy, The Band Room, Low Mill, Farndale, July 27, 7.30pm

“WHAT we like most about Martin Carthy is that to us he’s a local hero who will once again take the high road from Robin Hood’s Bay to Farndale, jewel in the crown of the North York Moors National Park, to renew his acquaintance with The Band Room,” says gig promoter Nigel Burnham.

Carthy, 82, who has enjoyed trailblazing folk partnerships with Steeleye Span, Dave Swarbrick, wife Norma Waterson and daughter Eliza Carthy, brings to the stage more than half a century of experiences and stories as a ballad singer, groundbreaking acoustic and electric guitarist and insatiably curious interpreter and arranger of other artists’ material and trad songs. Box office: thebandroom.co.uk.

More Things To Do in York and beyond when Monet…that’s what you want. Here’s Hutch’s List No. 20, from The Press, York

Florally attired York Art Gallery senior curator Dr Beatrice Bertram stands by Claude Monet’s The Water-Lily Pond, on loan from the National Gallery. Picture: Charlotte Graham

NATURE in full bloom, hothoused Shakespeare, blossoming student creativity and teenage blues put the colour in Charles Hutchinson’s cheeks for warmer days ahead.

Exhibition of the summer: National Treasures: Monet In York: The Water-Lily Pond, York Art Gallery, in bloom until September 8

FRENCH Impressionist painter Claude Monet’s 1899 work, The Water-Lily Pond, forms the York centrepiece and trigger point for the National Gallery’s bicentenary celebrations in tandem with York Art Gallery. 

On show are key loans from regional and national institutions alongside York Art Gallery collection works and a large-scale commission by contemporary artist Michaela Yearwood-Dan, Una Sinfonia. Monet’s canvas is explored in the context of 19th-century French open-air painting, pictures by his early mentors and the Japanese prints that transformed his practice and beloved gardens in Giverny. Tickets: yorkartgallery.org.uk.

Stewart Dylan-Campbell’s Rob, left, and Aiden Kane’s Marc in Qweerdog Theatre’s Jump, playing Rise@Bluebird Bakery tomorrow

Relationship drama of the week: Qweerdog Theatre in Jump, at Rise@Bluebird Bakery, Acomb, tomorrow (12/5/2024), 8.30pm; doors 7.30pm

DEVELOPED through Manchester company Qweerdog’s LGBTQ+ writing project, Nick Maynard’s dark comedy takes an unusual look at contemporary gay life, exploring the possibility of relationships and how they are not always the way we imagine.

Directed by West End director Scott Le Crass, Jump depicts the lives, love lives and past lives of two lost souls drawn to a canal one night. As the weary, embittered Rob (Stewart Dylan-Campbell) contemplates the lure of the water, a handsome young man, the “chopsy” Marc (Aiden Kane), engages him in conversation. So begins a strange and fractious relationship that might just prove beneficial to them both. Box office: bluebirdbakery.co.uk/rise.

Paloma Faith: “Celebrating taking responsibility for your own happiness” at York Barbican tomorrow

Recommended but sold out already: Paloma Faith, York Barbican, tomorrow, 8pm; Katherine Priddy, The Crescent, York, Wednesday, 7.30pm

STOKE Newington soul tour de force Paloma Faith showcases her sixth studio album, February’s deeply personal The Glorification Of Sadness, her “celebration of finding your way back after leaving a long-term relationship, being empowered even in your failures and taking responsibility for your own happiness”.

Birmingham folk singer and guitarist Katherine Priddy will be promoting second album The Pendulum Swing, released on Cooking Vinyl in February.  For the first time, her 14-date May tour finds her performing in a trio, joined by Harry Fausing Smith (strings) and support act George Boomsma (electric guitar).

Hollie McNish: Performing at the TakeOver festival at York Theatre Royal. Picture: Kat Gollock

Festival of the week: TakeOver – In The Limelight, York Theatre Royal, May 13 to 18

IN this annual collaboration between York Theatre Royal and York St John University, third-year drama students are put in charge of the theatre and programming its events for a week, with support and mentoring from professionals. 

Among those events will be writer Hollie McNish, reading from her latest book, Lobster And Other Things I’m Learning To Love (Thursday, 7.30pm), dance troupe Verve: Triple Bill (next Saturday, 7.30pm) and multiple shows by York St John students. For the full programme, head to: yorktheatreroyal.co.uk/be-part-of-it/children-and-young-people/takeover/. Box office: 01904 623568 or yorktheatreroyal.co.uk.

Gray O’Brien’s Juror 10, left, and Michael Greco’s Juror 7 in the 70th anniversary production of Twelve Angry Men. Picture: Jack Merriman

Jury service: Twelve Angry Men, Grand Opera House, York, May 13 to 18, 7.30pm plus 2.30pm Wednesday and Saturday matinees

IN its 70th anniversary touring production, Reginald Rose’s knife-edge courtroom thriller Twelve Angry Men resonates with today’s audiences with its intricately crafted study of human nature. Within the confines of the jury deliberating room, 12 men hold the fate of a young delinquent, accused of killing his father, in their hands. 

What looks an open-and-shut case soon becomes a dilemma, wherein Rose examines the art of persuasion as the jurors are forced to examine their own self-image, personalities, experiences and prejudices. Tristan Gemmill, Michael Greco, Jason Merrells, Gray O’Brien and Gary Webster feature in Christopher Haydon’s cast. Box office: atgtickets.com/york.

Steven Arran: Directing Shakespeare’s Speakeasy’s debut play in a day in York at Theatre@41, Monkgate

York debut of the week: Shakespeare’s Speakeasy, Theatre@41, Monkgate, York, Thursday, 7.30pm

SHAKESPEARE’S Speakeasy is heading from Newcastle to York for the first time, making its Theatre@41 debut under the directorship of Steven Arran. “It’s Shakespeare, but it’s secret,” he says. “Can a group of strangers successfully stage a Shakespearean play in a day? Shakespeare’s Speakeasy is the place for you to find out.”

After learning lines over the past four weeks, the cast featuring the likes of Claire Morley, Esther Irving and Ian Giles meets for the first time on Thursday morning to rehearse an irreverent, entertaining take on one of Bill’s best-known plays, culminating in a public performance. Which one? “Like all good Speakeasys, that’s a secret,” says Arran. Box office: tickets.41monkgate.co.uk.

Toby Lee: Blues prodigy heads to the Fulford Arms next Saturday

Blues gig of the week: Toby Lee, Fulford Arms, York, May 18, 7.30pm

BLUES rock prodigy Toby Lee, the 19-year-old Oxfordshire guitarist and singer, will be playing 100 showshome and abroad this year, 40 of them his own headline gigs, 60 as a special guest of boogie-woogie pianist Jools Holand and his Rhythm & Blues Orchestra.

The 2023 Young Blues Musician of the Year learned his trade playing Zack Mooneyham in the first West End production of School Of Rock and has since shared stages with his hero Joe Bonamassa, Buddy Guy, Peter Frampton and Slash. First up, Fulford Arms next Saturday, then come Jools engagements at York Barbican on December 1 and Leeds First Direct Arena on December 20. Box office: ticketweb.uk/event/toby-lee-the-fulford-arms-tickets/13366163.

Her name is Del Rio: And she lives for stand-up comedy as drag queen Bianca feels Dead Inside on York-bound world tour

Gig announcement of the week: Bianca Del Rio, Dead Inside, York Barbican, September 18

COMEDY drag queen and RuPaul’s Drag Race champion Bianca Del Rio heads to York on her 11-date stand-up tour. Up for irreverent discussion will be politics, pop culture, political correctness, current events, cancel culture and everyday life, as observed through the eyes of a “clown in the gown”, who will be “coming out of my crypt and hitting the road again to remind everyone that I’m still dead inside”. Tickets go on sale on Tuesday at 10am at yorkbarbican.co.uk.

York Art Gallery to show Monet’s The Water-Lily Pond as part of National Gallery’s National Treasures bicentenary project

The Water-Lily Pond, oil on canvas, by Claude Monet, 1899. Copyright: National Gallery

CLAUDE Monet’s masterpiece The Water-Lily Pond will go on show at York Art Gallery from May 10, marking the National Gallery’s 200th anniversary that day.

Acquired in 1927, this famous 1899 work by the Impressionist movement leading light will be the fulcrum of a major new exhibition in York as one of 12 partners participating in National Treasures, a nationwide celebration of the National Gallery’s collection.

What’s more, York Art Gallery has been selected as the only Yorkshire gallery to host a masterpiece, the nearest fellow participants being the Laing Art Gallery, in Newcastle, and Liverpool’s Walker Art Gallery.

The National Gallery’s National Treasures: Monet In York exhibition will bring together key loans from regional and national institutions alongside works from the York Art Gallery collection and a large-scale commission by South London-born contemporary artist Michaela Yearwood-Dan, comprised of four works.

Monet’s canvas will be explored in the context of 19th-century French plein-air painting, pictures by his early mentors and the Japanese prints that transformed his practice and beloved gardens in Giverny, on the bank of the River Seine in Normandy, northern France, where Monet lived and worked from 1883 until his death in 1926.

By displaying canvases by the contemporaries he inspired, as well as more modern artworks and a new commission, the exhibition will reveal how Monet’s radical approach to painting had, and continues to have, an enduring influence on artists.

In 1893, Monet bought a plot of land next to his house in Giverny. He had already planted a colourful flower garden, but now he wanted to create a water garden “both for the pleasure of the eye and for the purpose of having subjects to paint”.

Whereupon he enlarged the existing pond, filling it with exotic new hybrid water lilies, and built a bridge at one end, inspired by examples seen in Japanese prints.

The water garden became the main obsession of Monet’s later career, 1899’s The Water Lily-Pond being among his earlier canvases on this theme.

“Our exhibition will celebrate the enjoyment of nature, landscapes and gardens, and connect indoor and outdoor spaces,” says York Art Gallery senior curator Dr Beatrice Bertram

Dr Beatrice Bertram, senior curator at York Art Gallery, says: “We are delighted to be hosting this beautiful and much-loved painting by Monet as part of the National Gallery’s bicentenary events.

“Taking our cue from the artist’s lush canvas, our exhibition will explore open-air painting, celebrate the enjoyment of nature, landscapes and gardens, and connect indoor and outdoor spaces.”

To complement the works indoors, Monet’s painting has inspired York Art Gallery to plant a wildflower meadow in the gardens nearby.

“We’ll be encouraging audiences to get creative and engage in open-air sketching,” says Beatrice. “We can’t wait to welcome visitors to York to see the painting and exhibition for themselves.”

National Treasures is a key strand of the National Gallery’s bicentenary programme. Each partner venue will receive a masterpiece from the gallery collection and curate around that work in a process of interpretation, community engagement and events or exhibitions.

For the duration of the displays, 35 million people – more than half the British population – will be within an hour’s journey of a National Gallery masterpiece.

The opening of National Treasures around the United Kingdom will kickstart a year of bicentenary celebrations, where three strands of activities will showcase the National Gallery: across the nation; to the community in Trafalgar Square; and to virtual visitors around the world.

The ambitious programme will showcase the breadth of skill and creativity in the UK cultural sector, being as much about looking ahead to the National Gallery’s next 200 years as it is about celebrating its past. Those celebrations will conclude in May 2025 with the opening of the new Sainsbury Wing developments in Trafalgar Square.

Alexandra Kavanagh, the National Gallery’s head of national touring exhibitions, says: “As the National Gallery marks its third century of bringing people and paintings together, we are thrilled to be sharing 12 of our greatest masterpieces with museums across the UK.

“We’re delighted to be working with such a dynamic partner with a brilliant collection of their own in York Art Gallery. The new contexts in which visitors will get to see The Water-Lily Pond, thanks to contemporary response and the context of a museum garden, is exactly what we hoped National Treasures would help to spark as a programme.”

The Girls Take Their Places, oil on canvas, ceramic petals, by Michaela Yearwood-Dan, 2024. Copyright: Michaela Yearwood-Dan. Courtesy of: The artist and Marianne Boesky Gallery, New York and Aspen. Picture: Deniz Guzel

The 12 galleries taking part in the National Gallery’s National Treasures programme are:

Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, exhibiting The Wilton Diptych (about 1395-9).

Brighton Museum and Art Gallery, Self Portrait at the Age of 34 (1640), Rembrandt (1606-1669).

Bristol Museum and Art Gallery, The Hay Wain (1821), John Constable (1776-1837).

The Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, Venus and Mars (about 1485), Sandro Botticelli (about 1445-1510).

Ikon Gallery, Birmingham, Self Portrait as Saint Catherine of Alexandria (about 1615-17), Artemisia Gentileschi (1593-1654 or later).

Laing Art Gallery, Newcastle, The Fighting Temeraire (1839), Joseph Mallord William Turner (1775-1851).

Leicester Museum and Art Gallery, The Umbrellas (about 1881-6), Pierre-Auguste Renoir (1841-1919).

National Library of Wales, Aberystwyth, The Stonemason’s Yard (about 1725), Canaletto (1697-1768).

Scottish National Gallery, Edinburgh, A Young Woman standing at a Virginal (about 1670-2), Johannes Vermeer (1632-1675).

Ulster Museum, Belfast, The Supper at Emmaus (1601), Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio (1571-1610).

Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool, The Rokeby Venus (1647-51), Diego Velázquez (1599-1660).

York Art Gallery, The Water-Lily Pond (1899), Claude Monet (1840-1926).

The Girls Take Their Places, oil on canvas, ceramic petals, detail, by Michaela Yearwood-Dan, 2024. Copyright: Michaela Yearwood-Dan. Courtesy of: The artist and Marianne Boesky Gallery, New York and Aspen. Picture: Deniz Guzel

Michaela Yearwood-Dan: the back story

Born: 1994, South London.

Lives in: Leyton, London.

Education:  University of Creative Arts, Epsom; B.A. in fine art painting from University of Brighton, graduating in 2016.

Modus operandi: Her paintings, works on paper, ceramics and site-specific mural and sound installations endeavour to build spaces of queer community, abundance and joy.

Raison d’etre: “To explore possibilities of creating spaces—physical, pastoral, metaphorical — that allow for unlimited and unbounded ways of being”.

Influences: Blackness, queerness, femininity, healing ritual and carnival culture.

Style: Lush, bright, personal yet political.

First American solo show: Marianne Boesky Gallery, New York, 2021.

Work shown at:  Contemporary Arts Center, Cincinnati, Ohio; Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art, Arizona; Green Family Art Foundation, Dallas, Texas; Palazzo Monti, Brescia, Italy; Museum of Contemporary African Art, Marrakesh, Morocco.

Works in permanent collections at: Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington D.C.; Institute of Contemporary Art Miami, Florida; Crocker Art Museum, Sacramento, California; Jorge M. Perez Collection, Miami, Florida; Columbus Museum of Art and Pizzuti Collection, Columbus, Ohio.

2022 landmark: Produced her first public mural installation for Queercircle, London.

Did you know? Collaborated with author Margaret Atwood for a cover of Harper’s Bazaar.

Follow her on Instagram at: @artistandgal.

National Gallery’s National Treasures: Monet In York, The Water-Lily Pond (1899) will be on show at York Art Gallery, Exhibition Square, York,  from May 10 to September 8 2024. Opening times: Wednesday to Sunday, 10am to 5pm. For more information, go to: www.yorkartgallery.org.uk.

Make History Every Day in York, advocates artist Leah Pendleton in new walkway mural at Coppergate Centre. Trail to follow…

Leah Pendleton’s mural, Make Hstory Every Day, at Fenwick, Coppergate Centre, York

LOOK out – and up – for the new mural inspired by the 1970s’ Coppergate archaeological dig, painted on the side of the Fenwick store, at the Coppergate Centre, St Mary’s Square, York.  

Commissioned by York BID (Business Improvement District) and designed by York-born artist Leah Pendleton, the mural is part of an ongoing programme to tell stories that reflect York’s history and identity through a mural trail, to be launched this summer.

It joins the murals on Foss Walk, York Barbican, Coney Street, and Queen Street – all commissioned or supported by York BID – and follows the launch of York BID’s Colour & Light project at York Art Gallery, celebrating the city’s “built heritage” through a large-scale outdoor projection that can transforms the gallery frontage at Exhibition Square from 6pm to 9pm nightly until February 25.

Rachel Bean, project manager at York BID, is leading the mural trail. “York’s 2000-year history is evident everywhere you look, but Leah’s design reminds us that we are all an important part of that history and have something to contribute,” she says.

Wall-to-wall coverage: before and after, as Leah Pendleton brings colour to the Coppergate Centre

“This is the third mural commissioned by York BID in the last 12 months, and I’d like to say a huge thank you to the Coppergate Centre and Fenwick for their support”. 

The new 42m² mural was created by Leah in her trademark style that combines bold typography with playful illustration. “The design was inspired by photographs of the Coppergate dig, where you can see layers of history being unearthed,” she says.

“I wanted to interpret the history of Coppergate in a contemporary way using brightly coloured lettering. I’ve used the phrase ‘make history every day’ to highlight that each small story contributes to how a place is built and evolves over time.” 

The mural features bold lettering formed from different coloured layers, inspired by the nine metres of archaeological layers discovered during the Coppergate dig in the 1970s.

Leah Pendleton applies the finishing touches to her Make History Every Day mural

The design celebrates the idea that York’s varied history provides solid foundations for the present and future. The characters dotted around the mural highlight the importance of individual action, while the artefacts represent the deposits unearthed during the dig.

David Jennings, chief executive of York Archaeology, notes that the dig was not only influential for York, but for “the way museums present their collections across the world”.

“It is wonderful to see the dig represented in this way as a reminder of the remarkable archaeological heritage that we have, particularly on a site that is world-renowned for its rich deposits and incredible preservation of items from the Viking Age,” he says.  

Coppergate Centre manager Prajay Shah says: “The new mural is a great addition to the Coppergate Centre and shows why York is such a special place to visit. We were delighted to support this project and further enhance the great experience offering that we have here.”

Discover more about the York Mural Trail at: https://www.theyorkbid.com/york-mural-trail/

Leah Pendleton: the back story

Leah Pendleton at work on her mural at Fenwick, York

YORK-BORN artist, highly experienced muralist and sign painter, now living in Edinburgh. Her work can be seen in many York establishments, such as Spark: York, Ambiente Tapas and the soon-to-be Criminally Good Books, on Colliergate, York.

Follow Leah on Instagram at @LeahPendletonDesigns.

More Things To Do in York and beyond as the Vikings take over. Hutch’s List No. 7 for February 10 onwards, from The Press

In with a shout: Jorvik Viking Festival returns to York

INVASION? Installation? Theatre innovation? Half-term challenges? Giants and dinosaurs? Yes, yes, yes. Charles Hutchinson signposts what to catch in the days and weeks ahead.

Festival of the week: Jorvik Viking Festival 2024, invading York from February 12 to 18

NOW in its 39th year, Europe’s largest annual Viking festival will be attracting up to 45,000 visitors of all ages over the week ahead. “We’d always advise booking in for some of the activities – including a visit to Jorvik Viking Centre and the Festival Finale – but many have booking slots available on the day too,” advises event manager Abigail Judge.

Family activities include Monday’s smelly, squelchy Poo Day! at DIG, St Saviourgate, from 11am to 3pm; daily Berserker Camp, family crafting and saga story-telling Arena! shows, and a new event, the Best Dressed Viking, Best Beast and Best Beard competitions, on February 18 at 12.30pm in St Sampson’s Square. For tickets and the full programme, visit: jorvikvikingfestival.co.uk

Georgia-Mae Myers and Nedum Okonyia in rehearsal for the Imitating The Dog and Leeds Playhouse co-production of Frankenstein. Picture: Ed Waring

Yorkshire theatre premiere of the week: Frankenstein, Leeds Playhouse Courtyard Theatre, February 15 to 24

PIONEERING Leeds company Imitating The Dog teams up with Leeds Playhouse for a “visually captivating and psychologically thrilling” multi-media exploration of Mary Shelley’s Gothic tale of fear and anxiety, posing the question “what is it to be human?”.

Georgia-Mae Myers and Nedum Okonyia play all the roles across parallel narratives, threading together the late-18th century’ story of Frankenstein with a contemporary conversation between a pregnant young couple, fearful of what it means to bring life into the world. Box office: 0113 213 7700 or  leedsplayhouse.org.uk.

Ironing 1924 style at Nunnington Hall over half-term. Picture: Arnhel de Serra

Half-term family activity of the week: Nunnington Hall, Nunnington, near Helmsley, February 10 to 18, 10.30am to 4pm, last entry at 3.15pm.

TRAVEL back to 1924 this half-term when families can enjoy being tasked with carrying out activities performed by household servants 100 years ago, from ironing to dusting bannisters, cross stitch to flower arranging.  

The National Trust property has created a fun, interactive trail around the manor house in the form of a CV that guides visitors through the various servant skills. Children can find out if they meet the requirements necessary to fulfil the responsibilities of the desired positions, and then decide which roles, if any, they would choose to accept. Tickets: nationaltrust.org.uk/nunnington-hall.

Going Wilde in the country: Tiny & Tall Productions and Soap Soup Theatre’s touring production of The Selfish Giant visits Helmsley

Children’s show of the week: Tiny & Tall Productions and Soap Soup Theatre in The Selfish Giant, Helmsley Arts Centre, February 11, 2.30pm

BRISTOL family theatre companies Tiny & Tall Productions and Soap Soup Theatre head north with their collaborative exploration of Oscar Wilde’s children’s story of an unusual friendship, The Selfish Giant.

In this version, the giant Grinter lives happily alone in her huge icy house, shutting out the world that long ago shut her out. Outside, very little greenery is left. One spring day, the children, tired of playing on hard roads and grey rooftops, climb through a chink in her garden walls, changing the course of their lives forever and Grinter’s too. Box office: 01439 771700 or helmsleyartscentre.co.uk.

Jonathan Pie: Hero or villain? Time for a rant at York Barbican

York comedy gig(s) of the week: Jonathan Pie: Hero Or Villain?, York Barbican, February 14 and 15, 7.30pm

FOR the record, ranting political correspondent Jonathan Pie is a fictional character portrayed by British comedian Tom Walker, scripted by Walker and Irish comedian Andrew Doyle. In his latest slice of Pie, he hopes to answer the question: hero or villain?

Join him, on a St Valentine’s Day date or the night after, as he “celebrates the UK’s greatest heroes (nurses/Gary Lineker/24-hour off licence proprietors), takes a verbal blowtorch to its villains (the Tories/cyclists), kicks in the Establishment’s back doors and rifles through its kitchen cupboards”. Box office: yorkbarbican.co.uk.

Jurassic Live: Dinosaur adventures on a musical journey at York Barbican

Swimming dinosaur alert: Jurassic Live, York Barbican, February 16, 5pm; February 17, 11am, 3pm; February 18, 1pm

NEW for 2024 in this interactive theatrical dinosaur show is the Tylosaurus, a genus of Mosasaur: the largest predatory marine reptile to ever grace our oceans and now the largest marine puppet ever made as it swims in its gigantic purpose-built Jurassic tank on stage. Be warned: if you sit near the front, you will get wet!

Family show Jurassic Live undertakes a musical journey as little Amber, Ranger Joe and Ranger Nora strive to save the day from an evil man determined to close the Jurassic facility. Box office: yorkbarbican.co.uk.

Barrie and the Bard: Barrie Rutter discusses Shakespeare’s Royals at the SJT, Scarborough, Salts Mill, York Theatre Royal and Ripon Theatre Festival

Regal tour of the north: Barrie Rutter: Shakespeare’s Royals, Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough, March 1, 7.30pm; Arrival Of Spring Gallery, Salts Mill, Saltaire, April 13, 7.30pm; York Theatre Royal Studio, April 26, 7.45pm; Ripon Theatre Festival, Ripon Cathedral, July 4, 7.30pm

BARRIE Rutter, founder and former director of Northern Broadsides, celebrates the Bard’s kings and queens – their achievements, conquests and foibles – with tales, anecdotes and memories from a career of playing and directing Shakespeare’s Royals.

After being told he could never play a king on account of his Yorkshire accent, Hull-born Rutter, now 77, took the revolutionary step of creating his own theatre company in 1992 in Halifax to use the northern voice for Shakespeare’s kings, queens and emperors, not only the usual drunken porters, jesters or fools. As he says on X: “Lover of language. Awobopaloobopalopbamboom – everything else is Shakespeare”. Box office: Scarborough, 01723 370541 or sjt.uk.com; Salt’s Mill, https://bit.ly/RutterAtSalts;  York, 01904 623568 or yorktheatreroyal.co.uk; Ripon, ripontheatrefestival.org.

In Focus: Art installation Colour & Light, York Art Gallery, going full frontal until February 25

Colour & Light: Art from the York Art Gallery collection spreads over the gallery facade in Double Take Projections’ installation. Picture: York BID/Double Take Projections

YORK BID links up with York Museums Trust for the return of Colour & Light: an innovative project designed to warm up York Art Gallery’s facade in the cold winter with an art-filled light installation by David McConnachie’s Edinburgh company Double Take Projections.

This “high impact and large-scale visual arts project” uses 3D projection mapping to bring York’s iconic buildings to life, first York Minster last year, now York Art Gallery, where the projection will play every ten minutes from 6pm to 9pm daily in a non-ticketed free event. 

Highlighting York’s UNESCO Media Arts status, this outdoor projection is the work of Double Take Projections, who architecturally scanned the gallery facade to generate a 3D model.

This model served as the template for content application. From there, they used multiple projections to create one seamless image by projecting from different angles and wrapping content on the irregularly shaped frontage.

Viewers can notice something new at each viewing, such as York’s skyline being hidden in different mediums or artistic elements of the gallery’s façade that they may not have spotted previously.

The William Etty statue in front of the gallery, in Exhibition Square, has been brought to life too. Born in Feasegate and buried just around the corner from the gallery in Marygate, Etty is York’s most iconic artist.

Considered the first significant British painter of nudes and still lifes, Etty’s 19th century paintings were somewhat controversial at the time, but he also played a role in the conservation of the city walls.  His work Preparing For AFancy Dress Ball features in the Colour & Light display.

Not only York Art Gallery’s paintings are highlighted. Spot the reference to the extensive Centre of Ceramic Arts (CoCA) and the two tiled panels on the side of the building, Leonardo Expiring In The Arms Of Francis I and Michelangelo Showing His Moses

Viewers can pick up exclusive Colour & Light merchandise from the Sketch Box for £2 or less while watching the show, as well as churros, soft serve and hot drinks.

Carl Alsop, York BID’s operations manager, says: “This event is all about making world-class culture more accessible, and it’s been brilliant watching the show from Exhibition Square, traditionally a quiet and reserved space, with children playing, dancing and laughing, and people from all backgrounds enjoying the show together.

“It’s also been great to see people discovering some of the less obvious aspects of the projection on a second viewing. Audiences have enjoyed various buildings from York’s skyline reimagined in different mediums, as well as seeing elements of York Art Gallery, like the mosaics on each side of the building, brought to life.”

Richard Saward, York Museums Trust’s head of visitor experience and commercial, says: “We are thrilled to be involved with York BID’s Colour & Light show. This event kicks off a fantastic season at York Art Gallery, including The Aesthetica Art Prize 2024 exhibition and Claude Monet’s painting The Waterlily-Pond, which will be on display in York from May 10 to celebrate the 200th birthday of the National Gallery.” 

More Things To Do in York & beyond, when skies are dark or lights are bright. Here’s Hutch’s List No. 6 for 2024, from The Press

Neil Vincent, left, Clare Halliday, Chris Pomfrett, Victoria Delaney and Mick Liversidge in rehearsal for York Actors Collective’s Beyond Caring

A GLUT of York theatre companies, a nocturnal sky festival, a Yorkshire musical and a colourful installation light up the dark nights of February for culture guide Charles Hutchinson.

Social drama of the week: York Actors Collective in Beyond Caring, Theatre@41, Monkgate, York, Tuesday to Friday, 7.30pm; Saturday, 2.30pm and 5.30pm

DEVISED by Alexander Zeldin and the original Yard Theatre cast in London, this 90-minute play highlighting the social damage inflicted by zero-hours contracts forms York Actors Collective’s second production, directed by founder Angie Millard.

Performed by Victoria Delaney, Clare Halliday, Mick Liversidge, Chris Pomfrett and Neil Vincent, Beyond Caring follows meat-packing factory cleaners Becky, Grace and Sam on the night shift as they confront the reality of low wage employment, never sure whether their ‘job’ will continue. Box office: tickets.41monkgate.co.uk.

Robert Rice: Recital at Unitarian Chapel, St Saviourgate tonight

Late Music at the double: Steve Bingham, violin and electronics, 1pm today; Robert Rice, baritone, and William Vann, piano, 7.30pm tonight, Unitarian Chapel, St Saviourgate, York

PET Shop Boys’ It’s A Sin chills with Bach’s Allemande in D minor, while a tango from Piazzolla is thrown in for good measure, as Steve Bingham explores four centuries of solo violin music this afternoon. World premieres of David Power’s Miniatures, Wayne Siegel’s Salamander (violin and electronics) and Rowan Alfred’s Cuckoo Phase will be performed too.

York composer David Power has curated Robert Rice and William Vann’s evening recital, featuring the first complete performance of Power’s Three Char Songs (1985 and 2016). Works by Gerald Finzi, Cecil Armstrong Gibbs, Herbert Howells, Robert Walker, William Rhys Meek, Charlotte Marlow, Liz Dilnot Johnson, David Lancaster, Hannah Garton, Ruth Lee, Hayley Jenkins and Phillip Cooke. Power gives a pre-concert talk at 6.45pm with a complimentary glass of wine or juice. Tickets: latemusic.org or on the door.

Jonny Holbek as Sebastian in York Light Opera Company’s production of Disney’s The Little Mermaid. Picture: Matthew Kitchen

Nautical adventure of the week: York Light Opera Company in Disney’s The Little Mermaid, York Theatre Royal, February 7 to 17, except February 12

BASED on the classic 1989 Disney animated film, The Little Mermaid tells the enchanting story of Ariel, a mermaid who dreams of trading her tail for legs and exploring the human world. Aided by her mischievous sidekick, Flounder, and the cunning Ursula, Ariel strikes a bargain that will change her life forever.

Martyn Knight’s production for York Light features stunning projection, dazzling costumes, unforgettable musical numbers, such as Under The Sea and Kiss The Girl, and choreography by Rachael Whitehead. Box office: 01904 623568 or yorktheatreroyal.co.uk.

The poster for Colour & Light, soon to illuminate the facade of York Art Gallery

Installation launch of the week: Colour & Light, York Art Gallery, February 7 to 25

YORK BID is linking up with York Museums Trust for the return of Colour & Light: an innovative project that will transform the facade of York Art Gallery to counter the cold winter with a vibrant light installation.

This “high impact and large-scale visual arts project” uses 3D projection mapping to bring York’s iconic buildings to life, first York Minster last year, now York Art Gallery, where the projection will play every ten minutes from 6pm to 9pm daily in a non-ticketed free event.

Watching the detective: Steven Jobson’s Lieutenant Frank Cioffi in Joseph Rowntree Theatre Company’s Curtains. Picture: Jennifer Jones

It’s Curtains for…Joseph Rowntree Theatre Company, Joseph Rowntree Theatre, York, Wednesday to Saturday, 7.30pm and 2.30pm Saturday matinee

WHEN the leading lady of a new musical mysteriously dies on stage, a plucky local detective must solve this 1959 case at Boston’s Colonial Theatre, where the entire cast and crew are suspects in Kander & Ebb’s musical with a book by Rupert Holmes.

Cue delightful characters, a witty and charming script and glorious tunes in the Joseph Rowntree Theatre Company’s staging of Curtains. Box office: 01904 501935 or josephrowntreetheatre.co.uk.

Sunflower power: The Calendar Girls cast on tour at the Grand Opera House, York, from Tuesday to Saturday

Touring musical of the week: Calendar Girls The Musical, Grand Opera House, York, Tuesday to Saturday, 7.30pm plus 2.30pm Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday matinees

YOU know the story, the one where a husband’s death to leukaemia prompts a group of ordinary women in a small Yorkshire Women’s Institute to do an extraordinary thing, whereupon they set about creating a nude calendar to raise money for charity.

Premiered at Leeds Grand Theatre in 2015, Gary Barlow and Tim Firth’s musical is now touring with a cast of music, stage and television stars. Baring all will be Laurie Brett as Annie; Liz Carney as Marie; Helen Pearson as Celia; Samantha Seager as Chris; Maureen Nolan as Ruth; Lyn Paul as Jessie and Honeysuckle Weeks as Cora. Once more the tour supports Blood Cancer UK. Box office: atgtickets.com/york.

 Nicola Holliday (as Jean Tanner) and James Lee (as Charles Stratton) in rehearsal for Settlement Players’ Separate Tables. Picture: John Saunders

English manners of the week: York Settlement Community Players in Separate Tables, York Theatre Royal Studio, February 8 to 17, 7.45pm except Sunday and Monday, plus 2pm Saturday matinees

AFTER directing four Russian plays by Chekhov, Helen Wilson turns her attention to Separate Tables, two very English Terence Rattigan tales of love and loss, set in a shabby Bournemouth hotel in the 1950s.

Guests, both permanent and transient, sit on separate tables, a formality that underlines the loneliness of these characters in a play about class, secrets and repressed emotions. Chris Meadley, Paul French, Molly Kay, Jess Murray, Marie-Louise Feeley, Caroline Greenwood and Linda Fletcher are among the Settlement cast. Box office: 01904 623568 or yorktheatreroyal.co.uk.

Festival of the month: North York Moors and Yorkshire Dales Dark Skies Festival, February 9 to 25

TEAMING up for the ninth time since 2016, the North York Moors and Yorkshire Dales National Park authorities celebrate the jewels of God’s Own Country’s night sky this month.

Discover nocturnal activities to heighten the senses such as the Dark Skies Experience (February 9 to 25) night navigation (February 16); trail run and yoga (February 17, sold out); canoeing; planet trail and constellation trail at Aysgarth Falls (February 9 to 25); astrophotography workshops at Castle Howard (February 22), stargazing safaris, children’s daytime trails, art workshops and mindful experiences. More details: darkskiesnationalparks.org.uk; yorkshiredales.org.uk/things-to-do/whats-on/shows/dark-skies-festival/.

Richard Ashcroft: Heading to the woods for Forest Live at Dalby Forest in June. Picture: Dean Chalkley

Outdoor gig announcement of the week: Richard Ashcroft, Forest Live, Dalby Forest, near Pickering, June 23

FORESTRY England completes its Forest Live return to Dalby Forest for the first time since 2019 with Richard Ashcroft, the two-time Ivor Novello Award-winning Wigan singer, songwriter and frontman of The Verve.

Canadian rocker Bryan Adams and disco icons Nile Rodgers & CHIC were confirmed already for June 21 and 22 respectively. New addition Ashcroft’s set list will draw on his five solo albums, along with The Verve’s anthems Bittersweet Symphony, The Drugs Don’t Work, Lucky Man and Sonnet. Leeds band Apollo Junction will be supporting. Box office: forestlive.com.

In Focus: York Ice Trail, City of Dreams, York city centre, today and tomorrow, from 10am

York Ice Trail: City of Dreams this weekend

THE theme for York Ice Trail 2024 transforms York into the City of Dreams, inviting visitors to dream big.

The last York Ice Trail, in February 2023, drew 40,000 visitors to York to view 36 sculptures. Organised by Make It York, the 2024 event again sees the “coolest” sculptures line the streets of York, each conceived and sponsored by businesses and designed and created by ice specialist Icebox.

Sarah Loftus, Make It York managing director, says: “York Ice Trail is one of the most-loved events in the city for residents and visitors alike, and we’re excited to be bringing it back for another year in 2024. 

“It’s a huge celebration of our city and businesses, and the concept will inspire everyone’s inner child, encouraging people to let their imagination run wild.” 

Icebox managing director Greg Pittard says: “Returning to York for the 2024 Ice Trail is a true honour for us. The York Ice Trail holds a special place in our hearts, and we are thrilled to bring this year’s theme to life.

“Our talented team of ice carvers pour their passion into crafting magnificent ice sculptures that will transport visitors to a world of wonder and delight.”

The 2024 ice sculptures:

Our City Of Dreams, provided by Make It York, Parliament Street.

A Field Of Dreams, Murton Park, Parliament Street.

A Journey In ice, Grand Central, Parliament Street.

City Of Trees, Dalby Forest, Parliament Street.

Chasing Rainbows, in celebration of York band Shed Seven topping the UK official album chart in January, York Mix Radio, Parliament Street.

I’m Late, I’m Late! For A Very Important Date!, Ate O’Clock, High Ousegate.

Sewing Like A Dream, Gillies Fabrics, Peter Lane.

Mythical Beasts: The Yeti, York BID, Walmgate.

Hop On Your Bike, Spark:York, Piccadilly (Spark:York will be open from 12 noon).

Belle Of The Ball, York Castle Museum, Eye of York.

Brolly Walks, The Coppergate Centre.

Supporting Our Armed Forces, Crombie Wilkinson Solicitors, Clifford Street.

Mythical Beasts: The Kraken, York BID, Micklegate (moved from King’s Staith on account of high river levels).

The Slithering Serpent, The Potions Cauldron, Middletons, Skeldergate.

Oompa Loompas, York’s Chocolate Story, Middletons, Skeldergate.

Wonkavision, City Cruises, Middletons, Skeldergate.

The Golden Ticket, filled with Terry’s Chocolate Oranges, Middletons, at Middletons, Skeldergate.

Mythical Beasts: The Phoenix, York BID, Micklegate.

Throne Of Dreams, Storage King, Station Road.

York Principal, The Principal York, Principal Gardens.

A Hat Full Of Dreams, The Grand, York, Station Rise.

Judges And Dragons, The Judge’s Lodging, Lendal.

Your Key To The National Park, North York Moors National Park, Exhibition Square.

Mythical Beasts: The Unicorn, York BID, Gillygate.

Mythical Beasts, The Hydra, York BID, Goodramgate.

The Big Bad Wolf, York Minster, Minster Piazza.

Train Of Dreams, National Railway Museum, High Petergate.

Bradley’s Jewellers’ Christmas Robin Egg, Bradley’s Jewellers, Low Petergate.

Floating Dreams, Lucia Bar, Grape Lane.

Fly Into York With P&R, York Park & Ride, St Helen’s Square.

RMS Queen Mary, Betts, Davygate.

Dreaming Of Cut And Craft, Cut And Craft, St Sampson’s Square.

Live Carving, Make It York, St Sampson’s Square.

York Art Gallery draws attention to emerging artists in British Museum show for Season of Drawing programme launch

Drawing Attention commissioned artist Ugonna Hosten with her charcoal, ink and pastel work At The Dawn Of Each New Day at York Art Gallery . Picture: Charlotte Graham

THE British Museum touring exhibition Drawing Attention: Emerging Artists In Dialogue has opened at York Art Gallery as part of a new Season of Drawing. 

Compelling up-and-coming names in the field of contemporary drawing are displayed alongside works by celebrated artists within the British Museum collection of prints and drawings. 

These new acquisitions include works by some of the youngest living artists ever collected by the British Museum, presented in tandem with works by celebrated artists from Mary Delany and Édouard Manet to Barbara Hepworth, Andy Warhol and Yinka Shonibare.  

In this surprising and thought-provoking selection, emerging artists take the medium of drawing in new directions and use innovative approaches. A wide range of techniques and practices are represented, including drawings using make-up on face wipes by Sin Wai Kin and a drawing made with chalk collected from the White Cliffs of Dover by Josephine Baker.

Artists show how drawing, often considered a quiet or private medium, can be used to challenge social norms, explore identity and protest injustice. Catherine Anyango Grünewald has described the time and labour invested in her monumental drawings as a “direct homage” to their subjects, often the victims of institutional crimes.

The painstaking detail of Irish artist Miriam de Búrca’s drawings of clods of earth from cilliní – the unmarked graves of those deemed unfit for Christian burial – forces us to confront an uncomfortable history. 

Isabel Seligman, the British Museum’s curator of modern and contemporary drawing, says: “We are excited to share our dynamic and growing collection of contemporary drawings with York Art Gallery, alongside treasures of our historic collection.

Amy Cope admires St John the Baptiste, by Hendrick De Somer 1602 – 1656, in the British Museum’s touring exhibition Drawing Attention: Emerging Artists In Dialogue at York Art Gallery. Picture: Charlotte Graham

“This touring exhibition enables us to highlight over 20 new acquisitions by some of the freshest and most compelling new voices in the field, exploring questions of identity, memory and materiality, and using innovative materials and processes.”

Drawing Attention: Emerging Artists In Dialogue forms part of a broader Season of Drawing that will run until April 21 2024, taking in the annual Aesthetica Art Prize exhibition from February 15 to April 21.

This season of events and exhibitions includes a new commission by artist Ugonna Hosten, an exhibition of works created by participants in the York Art Gallery’s Teenage Art School and a drawing studio space for visitors to make their own drawings.

Ugonna Hosten’s commission, chi; Altarpieces, Liturgy & Devotion, chronicles a heroine’s enchanted journey to initiate a relationship with her chi, a personal guiding spirit central to the Igbo-speaking people of Southeast Nigeria.

Ugonna uses the process of drawing to investigate and reimagine alternate precolonial histories. Paintings from the York Art Gallery collection connect her research to her Christian upbringing, while ceramics expand on relationships between the use of water vessels in sacred rituals and ceremonies.

Multi-disciplinary artist Ugonna works across media encompassing collage, drawing and printmaking. Born in Nigeria, she migrated to Great Britain as a child, and in many ways her work seeks to explore the notion of duality – namely earthly and spiritual – as being central to the human experience. Themes of myth as a form of reality and the realm of the unconscious are prevalent in her art.

Ugonna’s route into fine art was via a BA Honours in Criminology that led to a career in the civil service. Those early explorations into the human mind on her degree programme filter into her work now, her artistic practice being an evolution of a sort in piecing fragments together and investigating experiences; historically, personally and imagined.

Seeking to convey the dimensions of the self and its connection to the collective unconscious, she considers her exploration as building on the rich legacy and tradition of storytelling and myth making.

York Art Gallery curator of fine art Becky Gee drawing in the specially created Drawing Studio. Picture: Charlotte Graham

As part of the Season of Drawing, Ugonna has developed and led York Art Gallery’s annual Teenage Art School programme. Participants created work guided by their own experiences and interests, using a broad interpretation of drawing that aligns with Ugonna’s own practice in an exploration of the relationship between printmaking and drawing.

The installation of their works alongside Ugonna’s commission offers visitors the chance to reflect on the vast creative and interpretive potential of drawing.

With that in mind, a range of drop-in sessions and bookable events will run in the specially created Drawing Studio, where visitors can have a go at different types of drawing. Becky Gee, York Art Gallery’s curator of fine art, says: “The Season of Drawing is a dynamic series of exhibitions and events that we hope will inspire visitors to think deeply about different aspects of drawing, and be inspired to try it for themselves.

“We are so grateful to have the opportunity to bring together so many different artists, from the famous and contemporary names of the British Museum to our own Teenage Art School participants.”

Among the Emerging Artists In Dialogue is Charmaine Watkiss, exhibiting her 2021 pencil, water-soluble graphite, watercolour and ink work Double Consciousness: Be Aware Of One’s Intentions, acquired by the British Museum with Art Fund and Rootstein Hopkins Foundation support.  

Charmaine, who lives and works in London, completed her MA in Drawing at Wimbledon College of Art, 2018. Her work is concerned with what she calls “memory “, wherein she creates narratives primarily through research into the African Caribbean diaspora, then mapped onto female figures.

Charmaine depicts herself as a conduit to relay stories that speak of a collective experience; starting with an idea, then allowing intuition and a dialogue with the work to take over. Her practice addresses themes of ritual, tradition, ancestry, mythology and cosmology.

Artist Charmaine Watkiss studies her pencil, water-soluble graphite, watercolour and ink work Double Consciousness: Be Aware Of One’s Intentions at York Art Gallery. Picture: Anthony Chapell-Ross

Since her first gallery solo show, The Seed Keepers, for Tiwani Contemporary Gallery, London, in 2021, she has been investigating the herbal healing traditions of Caribbean women; especially those of her mother’s generation, connecting those traditions through colonisation back to their roots in Africa. 

In 2022, Charmaine undertook a six-week residency in southwest France at Launchpad LAB that enabled her to explore nature and ecology in a more focussed way, and to combine drawing with making sculptural forms.

On her return, she was selected as a commissioned artist for the 12th edition of the Liverpool Biennial 2023. This allowed her to develop her practice further by creating an installation that consisted of life-sized drawings and sculpture, embodying a healing frequency in response to Liverpool’s troubled historical past.

Charmaine’s first institutional solo show, The Wisdom Tree, ran at Leeds Art Gallery from May to October last year, combining her signature large-scale drawings with more private artworks and notebooks in works that fused her interests in herbalism, alchemy and history and drew on her research into the medicinal and physical capabilities of plants.

Drawing Attention: Emerging Artists In Dialogue runs at York Art Gallery, launching the Season of Drawing, until January 28 2024. The season is backed by the Little Greene Paint Company.  

To find out more about the exhibition, the Season of Drawing events programme and how to book tickets (£7, concessions available) at www.yorkartgallery.org.uk

The full list of emerging artists in the Drawing Attention exhibition

EMII Alrai (born 1993); Catherine Anyango Grünewald (b.1982); Josephine Baker (b.1990); Miriam de Búrca (b.1972); Somaya Critchlow (b.1993); Jake Grewal (b.1994); David Haines (b.1969); Rosie Hastings & Hannah Quinlan (b.1991); Mary Herbert (b.1988); Jessie Makinson (b.1985); Sam Metz, Jade Montserrat (b.1981); Ro Robertson (b. 1984); Sin Wai Kin (b.1991), and Charmaine Watkiss (b.1964).

More Things To Do in York and beyond with summer in full bloom. Hutch’s List No. 26 for 2023, courtesy of The Press, York

Vote Nature: York artist Jade Blood with her Community Notice Board installation for Bloom in the Artists Gallery behind York Art Gallery. Picture: Charlotte Graham

FLOWER power indoors and out, musicals with a twist, trees and romantic entanglements hark the arrival of Charles Hutchinson’s new summer of love.

Garden of delights: Bloom at York Art Gallery, on display until October 8

FLOWERS, plant life and gardens have fascinated and inspired generations of artists. Cultivated by York Art Gallery curator of fine art Becky Gee, the Bloom display brings together more than 100 botanical artworks from York Art Gallery’s collection, alongside key loans, to explore the importance of nature and green spaces for enjoyment, creativity and wellbeing and highlight the gallery’s relationship with the neighbouring Museum Gardens, set up by the Yorkshire Philosophical Society in 1828. Look out for York artist Jade Blood’s installations too.

Banjo player Curt Eller: Bringing his band to the Arts Barge on July 1

Down by the river: The Arts Barge presents Dylan Earl, on Selby Tony, Foss Basin, York, tonight, 7pm; Curtis Eller’s American Circus, July 1, 7pm

ARKANSAS singer Dylan Earl returns to the Arts Barge for a headline gig after his Arts Barge Hoodang appearance last year. Likewise, Curtis Eller’s American Circus show heads back to the barge, this time with full band in tow for a night of banjo-driven rock’n’roll. Box office: eventbrite.co.uk.

SIX of the best: The Queens giving Harry the hurry up. Picture: Pamela Raith

Quick return of the week: SIX The Musical at Grand Opera House, York, Tuesday to Sunday; also Leeds Grand Theatre, August 1 to 6

WAS it only last October that Toby Marlow and Lucy Moss’s Spouse Girls musical/pop concert first wowed York? Its return has all but sold out again as the dancing queens with attitude tell their story in song in chronological order to decide who suffered most at Henry VIII’s hands once he put a ring on that wedding finger.

Of York interest, Knaresborough-raised Lou Henry returns to the stage where she made her professional debut in the 2019-2020 pantomime as Snow White. This time she plays the apparently not-so-squeaky-clean Catherine Howard, short-lived wife number five. Box office (probably for frustration only): atgtickets.com/york; Leeds, 0113 243 0808 or leedsheritagetheatres.com.

Mark Simmonds, Monica Frost, Emma Dickinson and Richard Bayton (at the wheel) in rehearsal for York Light Opera Company’s I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change

In pursuit of love: York Light Opera Company in I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change, Theatre@41, Monkgate, York, Tuesday to Saturday, 7.30pm plus 2.30pm Saturday matinee

RIOTOUS, rude and relevant, Joe DiPietro and Jimmy Roberts’ off-Broadway musical revue is directed by York Light’s Neil Wood in its 2018 updated revamp in a witty look at how we love, date and handle relationships.

Guiding love’s path through a series of comedic and poignant vignettes will be Richard Bayton, Emma Dickinson, Monica Frost, Emily Hardy, James Horsman, Sanna Jeppsson and Mark Simmonds. Shocks and surprises incoming, as love lives are reflected in art, up close and personal. Box office: tickets.41monkgate.co.uk.

Joseph Rowntree Theatre Company cast members rehearsing Musicals In The Multiverse

Expect the unexpected: Joseph Rowntree Theatre Company in Musicals In The Multiverse, Joseph Rowntree Theatre, York, Thursday and Friday, 7.30pm

IN a fundraiser for the JoRo, the Joseph Rowntree Theatre Company transports you into a multiverse full of musical theatre favourites with a twist. Guided by director Helen Spencer, enter a parallel universe where familiar songs have their traditional renditions turned on their heads in swaps of gender, major to minor keys, musical styles and eras. Box office: 01904 501935 or josephrowntreetheatre.co.uk.

Acoustic gig of the week: An Evening With Ocean Colour Scene’s Simon & Oscar, Harrogate Theatre, Thursday, 7.30pm

OCEAN Colour Scene vocalist Simon Fowler and drummer Oscar Harrison present an intimate acoustic performance of their big hits and anthems, from The Riverboat Song, The Circle and Traveller’s Tune to Hundred Mile High City and The Day We Caught The Train.

“Our acoustic shows are a real tonic: a great chance to look the audience in the eye and interact with them on a more personal basis than ever before,” says Fowler. Dexys Midnight Runners founder member Pete Williams supports. Box office: 01423 502116 or harrogatetheatre.co.uk.

Murray Watts: His play Mr Darwin’s Tree will be performed at Stillington Mill

Science meets art: Mr Darwin’s Tree, At The Mill, Stillington, near York, July 1, 7.30pm

COMMISSIONED for Charles Darwin’s bicentenary and premiered at Westminster Abbey, Riding Lights luminary Murray Watts’s 75-minute play has since been staged in China, South Korea, and throughout the United States. Now Stillington Mill beckons.

Watts directs film, television and theatre actor Andrew Harrison – last seen at Stilllington in Fire From Heaven last summer – in a study of the relationship between the agnostic Darwin and his Christian wife Emma that explores science, faith, family, love and destiny. Box office: tickettailor.com/events/atthemill.

Saxophonist Snake Davis: Having a blast at Cop’ Carnival’s Jazz Night

Community event of the week: Cop’ Carnival Day, Copmanthorpe Recreation Centre, Barons Crescent, Copmanthorpe, York, July 1, 11.30am to 7pm

COP’ Carnival Day returns in its 53rd year for a day of dance troops, bands (including Miles And The Chain Gang), traditional games and attractions. Tickets are on sale at copmanthorpecarnival.org.uk and on the day.

The carnival week runs from June 27 to July 1, featuring a jazz night with saxophonist Snake Davis on Tuesday (7.45pm); a wine-tasting quiz on Wednesday (7.30pm, sold out) and a comedy night with Justin Moorhouse, Tal Davies, Roger Monkhouse and host Alex Boardman on Thursday (8pm). Copmanthorpe Methodist Church houses the carnival exhibition by 30 artists from today to July 1.

Jack Whitehall; Chance to Settle Down at York Barbican

Not many tickets left: Jack Whitehall: Settle Down, York Barbican, July 12, 6.30pm

SETTLE Down is comedian, actor, writer and presenter Jack Whitehall’s “most personal show to date”, driven by material aplenty focused on the big changes in his life.  

“It’s about my struggle to settle down gracefully,” says Londoner Whitehall, 34. “I’ve got a long-term partner, a ridiculous dog and am now hurtling towards middle aged without a clue. It’s about a foppish man-child’s cack-handed attempt at adulting!” Note the early start time; no late night for this all-work-and-no-play Jack! Box office: yorkbarbican.co.uk.

York Art Gallery revels in young rebels of book world in marvel of a mischievous show

Author, illustrator and 2017-2019 Children’s Laureate Lauren Child at the opening of Marvellous & Mischievous: Literature’s Young Rebels at York Art Gallery. Picture: Anthony Chappel-Ross

PIPPI Longstocking. Jane Eyre. Zog. Matilda. Dennis the Menace. A doodling Latin student. All feature in the British Library’s touring exhibition Marvellous and Mischievous: Literature’s Young Rebels, booked into York Art Gallery until June 4.

Showcasing around 40 books, manuscripts and original artwork, this family-friendly show shines a spotlight on rebels, outsiders and spirited survivors from children’s literature spanning more than 300 years.

Drawn from the British Library’s vast collection, Marvellous and Mischievous celebrates cherished characters who break the rules and defy conventions in an invitation for young and old alike to rediscover their storybook favourites and meet new ones in their homes, schools and on journeys.

Bright idea: A child enjoying the activity room at the Marvellous and Mischievous exhibition. Picture: Anthony Chappel-Ross

Among the exhibition highlights are the first British edition of Lucy Maud Montgomery’s Anne Of Green Gables; the first version of George Cruikshank’s coloured illustrations for Charles Dickens’s Oliver Twist, along with artwork for Jacqueline Wilson’s Tracy Beaker (by Nick Sharratt), Lauren Child’s What Planet Are You From, Clarice Bean?, Julia Donaldson’s Zog (by Alex Scheffler), Judith Kerr’s When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit and Sarah Garland’s Azzi In Between.

Lucy Evans, the British Library’s lead curator for this exhibition, says: “Marvellous And Mischievous is a fun, interactive exhibition all about exploring what makes a young ‘rebel’ in children’s stories.

“They could be a character that resists authority or breaks away from convention. Children’s literature over the past 300 years has shown that rebels come in all shapes and sizes, including children who may struggle to actually rebel and so their quest is more one of survival; these resilient characters are very much part of our story.”

An activity room with a sensory area and play kitchen complements the exhibition, with opportunities for young visitors to create their own rebel tales by dressing up as the Rebel of The School and reflecting on which cause they might back. In addition, they can enjoy a selection of books in a dedicated reading area.

Charlotte Bronte’s original manuscript for Jane Eyre, on display at York Art Gallery. Picture: Charlotte Graham

Fiona Burton, public engagement manager at York Museums Trust, says: “Marvellous and Mischievous is a fun-filled and interactive exhibition, perfect for the whole family. There’s a variety of books on display, and we hope visitors enjoy and feel inspired by their favourite characters, as well as any new ones that they’ll meet along the way.”

Alongside the exhibition, York Art Gallery is offering events and workshops tailored to all ages. Families can unleash their creativity through workshops and activities run in collaboration with Gemma Curry’s Hoglets Theatre, Curious Arts and Cassie Vallance and Janet Bruce’s Story Craft Theatre, purveyors of Wicked Wednesday interactive story-theatre workshops. Make a note, den building with recyclable materials will take place on Earth Day, April 22.

Adults may take part in events such as illustration masterclasses and storytelling workshops, suitable for those looking to develop new skills.

Reading time: A quiet moment with a book amid Literature’s Young Rebels at York Art Gallery. Picture: Antony Chappel-Ross

“York Art Gallery won the [Kids In Museums] Family Friendly Museum Award in 2016 after reopening [following its £8 million refurbishment], and post-pandemic we’re keen to encourage families back into the gallery,” says senior curator Morgan Feely. “For this exhibition, for example, we’re placing the plinths and the labelling lower, with captions for smaller children too.

“Marvellous and mischievous young rebels really appeal to children, and I can’t think of a better young rebel for our times than climate activist Greta Thunberg.”

The exhibition is divided into three sections, each denoted by a colour, yellow for Home, blue for School and green for Journeys. Home, for example, expresses how rebellion often begins in the home, where children may face the challenge of standing up to nasty grown-ups or the need to try to change their circumstances.

Look out too for cut-outs of tropical trees and flying ducks, seats stuck to the walls and bold wallpaper prints, courtesy of the British Library design team.

Act of rebellion: A chance to dress up in the school changing room as a favourite rebel at York Art Gallery. Picture: Charlotte Graham

Myriad rebels are to be spotted from Peter Pan to Heinrich Hoffmann’s The English Struwwelpeter (Shock-headed Peter), David Walliams’s The Midnight Gang to David Roberts’s Dirty Bertie.

In the School Room can be found a John Aggs illustration for Malorie Blackman’s Noughts & Crosses; an animated Dennis the Menace; Charlotte Bronte’s manuscript for Jane Eyre in the most immaculate handwriting and a page from Roald Dahl’s hand-written first version of Matilda, accompanied by one from the type-written sixth version. 

[We await the red pen version from the “sensitivity readers” at Dahl’s publishers with all their huffin’ and Puffin over removing language deemed to be offensive to 2023 sensitivities!).

Dahl goes from a nascent Matilda’s “very naughty and not at all nice” hatching of a plot to put itching powder in her classmates’ pants to version six’s more recognisable characteristics of facing up to headmistress Miss Trunchbull and playing pranks on her horrible parents as she challenges adults in charge.

“Dare to be a shining light!”: An inspirational illustration for putative young rebels in the Home room at the Marvellous and Mischievous exhibition. Picture: Anthony Chappel-Ross

For the “tiniest” act of rebellion, seek out the 17th century Latin school textbook with a child’s doodle in the margin.

In the Green Room, journeys in books range from Robert Sabuda’s pop-up design for J M Barrie’s Peter Pan to a Japanese version of Alice In Wonderland in fashionable 1920s’ attire; Yu Rong’s illustration for Qin Wenjun’s Mulan to biographies of Eminent Chinse Woman from George III’s collection.

“What is a rebel?” the exhibition asks. “Is it someone who stands up for their beliefs or likes breaking the rules? Someone who is brave, trying to survive a difficult situation, or just enjoying some mischief?”

All of them, rebels with a cause and applause, as witnessed by diversity of stories writ large on York Art Gallery’s walls and floors.

Marvellous And Mischievous: Literature’s Young Rebels, York Art Gallery, Exhibition Square, York, until June 4. Tickets: yorkartgallery.org.uk. Opening hours: Wednesday to Sunday, 10am to 4pm.

The green room at the Marvellous and Mischievous exhibition: Full of stories of journeys, from Peter Pan to refugees. Picture: Anthony Chappel-Ross