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:

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 & 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:

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: 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

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

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:

 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

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:;

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:

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.

Charlotte (Emmeline) North evokes city’s culture and music in York Barbican mural

Charlotte (Emmeline) North’s mural on the Fishergate side of York Barbican

LOOK out for Charlotte (Emmeline) North’s new mural at York Barbican, celebrating the city’s music and culture.

The work has been commissioned by the York BID as part of an ongoing programme to introduce more street art to York.

Yorkshire mural artist and designer North won the commission to design a mural based on the “York Narrative”, representing what York means to the people who visit and live in the city.

Charlotte says: “I think it’s great that businesses are invested in art for the city. I’m thrilled to be creating a mural in York; my mum’s side of my family are from here. We’ve had a great response so far, and it’s been lovely to hear that gentle York accent while chatting to people.” 

Featuring Charlotte’s signature bright and abstract style, reflecting movement, rhythm and connection, the mural is the largest to be commissioned by the York BID so far at 14m long and 2m high.

Created in environmentally friendly paint, it runs along the Fishergate side of York Barbican, a busy route for those accessing the city by car, bicycle and on foot.

Made by Graphenstone, the paint is free of plastic and other harmful toxins and uses natural materials developed into a formula proven to absorb CO2 from the environment, creating a “living” mural that acts as an adult tree.

Rachel Bean, projects and finance executive at York BID, says: “I love the energy and flow of Charlotte’s work. York is bursting with creative talent and this piece beautifully captures that. Our ambition with this project is to create new destination points in the city and hopefully encourage residents and visitors to explore new areas.”

York Barbican manager Sam Ryder says: “Arts and culture is in the bloodstream of the city of York. At York Barbican, we continue to strive to bring the best live entertainment to York, and we are very grateful to be a part of this cultural transformation of the city. Now everyone will take in a piece of the incredible atmosphere that’s created inside the Barbican as they travel past”.

Mural artist Charlotte (Emmeline) Scott

Charlotte (Emmeline) North: the back story

Studied Printed Textiles and Surface Pattern Design at Leeds Arts University with a focus on materials and sustainable design. 

Began her first exterior installation in 2018.

Firm believer in the concept of turning art galleries inside out, having work for all people to see, and hopefully enjoy, as they go about their day. 

Her work can be spotted in York, Leeds, Dewsbury, Batley and Birmingham.

Her studio is at Red Brick Mill, Bradford Road, Batley.

What’s happening at York Residents’ Festival 2023? Find out where to go here

YORK Residents’ Festival 2023 combines more than 100 attractions, events and offers this weekend.

Organised by Make It York, this annual event returns on Saturday and Sunday, when historical attractions such as York Minster, Jorvik Viking Centre, Fairfax House, York Castle Museum, Barley Hall and The Guildhall will be opening their doors for free to residents.   

They also can enjoy free wizard golf at The Hole In Wand, Coppergate Walk, free river cruises with City Cruises and free chocolate tours at York’s Chocolate Story, King’s Square. Theatre lovers can go behind the scenes at York Theatre Royal and experience virtual reality with Pilot Theatre’s Monoliths, featuring sweeping soundscapes and poetic monologues by Hannah Davies, Carmen Marcus and Asma Elbadawi at York Explore Library.  

Offers across York eateries and restaurants include 22 Yards Wine, Ambiente Tapas, Brew York, Forest and Trio Mezze Bar. Plus. Look out for retail offers exclusively for residents at Avorium, The Yorkshire Soap Company, Dean’s Garden Centre, The Hat Shop and more besides.   

For those preferring to explore the city on foot, plenty of free and discounted walking tours are available. York Photo Walks’ free walks provide the chance to learn and improve photography skills while learning more about the history of York. The Wizard Walk of York promises spellbinding family-friendly walks.

To participate in York Residents’ Festival, you must present a valid York Card, student card or identity card that proves York residency. If presenting an identity card, this must clearly state ‘York’ (such as a driving licence or older person’s bus pass). 

Sarah Loftus, Make It York’s managing director, says: “We’re delighted that we have more than 100 attractions, events and offers for Residents’ Festival weekend. This is a great opportunity for residents to rediscover some of the brilliant attractions, retail and food and drink offers on their doorstep. A huge thank-you to our Visit York members for their excellent offers and to our main sponsor, Grand Central.”  

Councillor Keith Aspden, leader of City of York Council, says: “I’m delighted that York Residents’ Festival is once again back this year. The weekend is a great way to enjoy our city and support our businesses. There is a lot explore and discover, with I hope something for everyone on offer during this fun-packed weekend of activities. 

“Our thanks go to all the partners around the city who have come together to make sure that more than 100 attractions, events and offers are available for residents.” 

The full list of offers for York Residents’ Festival can be found at: Please note, some venues require pre-booking. 

Alternatively, wade your way through this comprehensive guide!


Barley Hall, 2 Coffee Yard, off Stonegate, YO1 8AR 615505 

Saturday and Sunday, 10am – 4pm. Free entry after 2pm. 

Barley Hall is a medieval townhouse, tucked away down one of the oldest streets in York. The exhibition The Bard At Barley Hall features costumes worn by famous actors. Pre-booking is required online or by phone. Select the “Free Adult” or “Free Child” option or by calling 01904 615505. 

Bedern Hall Bartle Garth, St Andrewgate, York, YO1 7AL 

Saturday and Sunday, 10.30am to 3.30pm. Free entry. 

Discover one of York’s true hidden medieval gems – from butchers to bakers and pork pie makers, chorals to squirrels – as Bedern Hall continues its centuries-old tradition of good food, good friend, and good times. Pre-booking is not required. 

Beningbrough Hall, Gallery and Gardens, Beningbrough, YO30 1DD 472027 

Saturday and Sunday, 10am to 3.30pm.

Grab your calling cards as you explore the garden and uncover the fascinating stories of the people who shaped Beningbrough with never-been-told-before stories from the latest research, voices from the past, interactive elements and family trail. Pre-booking is not required. 

Black Swan Folk Club 23, Peasholme Green, York, YO1 7PR 679131  

Sunday only.

Winter Folk Day performances by folk musicians. Two sessions 2pm to 5.30pm and 7.30pm to 10.30pm in the Black Swan Inn’s Wolfe Room. Pre-booking is not required.   

Brew York, Unit 6, Enterprise Complex, Walmgate, York YO1 9TT 848448 

Saturday only. Free 30-minute brewery tour and tasting at 1pm and 2pm. 

Founded in Walmgate in 2016, Brew York boasts a £2million state-of-the-art production facility and global distribution. See where it all began with a mini-tour of the original brewery as you enjoy a fresh beer on them. Pre-booking is required via email. 

City Cruises, King’s Staith Landing and Lendal Bridge Landing 

Saturday and Sunday.  Free cruise. 

Set sail with City Cruises for a free cruise at 11am, 12 noon, 1pm, 2pm or 3pm. No pre-booking; first-come, first-served. 

Clifford’s Tower, Tower Street, York, YO1 9SA 646940 

Saturday and Sunday, 10am to 4pm. Free entry 

Immerse yourself in history at this iconic site and experience views over the city. A new roof deck, walkways and staircases have opened up parts of the tower, where a new interpretation brings the tower’s history to life. Pre-booking is not required. 

DIG: An Archaeological Adventure, St Saviour’s Church, St Saviourgate, YO1 8NN 615505 

Saturday and Sunday, 10am to 4pm. Free entry after 2pm.

Discover exciting artefacts from 2,000 years of York history at DIG. Children can grab a trowel and dig up the clues that show how people lived in Roman, Viking, medieval and Victorian times. Pre-booking is required online or by phone. Select the “Free Adult” or “Free Child” option or by calling 01904 615505 

Fairfax House, Castlegate, York, Y01 9RN 655543 

Saturday and Sunday, 11am to 2pm. Free entry. 

Numbers are limited and places need to be pre-booked online on a timed ticket basis to visit this furnished 18th century historic house museum.  

Get Cycling, 22 Hospital Fields Road, Fulford, YO10 4DZ 636812 

Saturday and Sunday, 10am to 4pm.

Free half-day bike hire (for five hours). One hire per person. Deposit necessary. Pre-booking is required via telephone or email quoting Residents’ Festival. 

Holgate Windmill, Windmill Rise, Holgate, York YO26 4TX.

For parking use YO24 4AE (Acomb Road). 151132 

Saturday and Sunday, 11am to 4pm. Free entry. 

Visit York’s only surviving windmill, built in 1770, now restored and in full working order. Stoneground wholemeal and spelt flour milled here is available for sale. Pre-booking is not required. 

Jorvik Viking Centre, Coppergate, YO1 9WT 615505 

Saturday and Sunday, 10am to 4pm. Free entry after 2pm. 

Discover York’s Viking legacy at the award-winning Jorvik Viking Centre. Meet a Viking of Coppergate, be up close with rare artefacts and take in the sights, sounds and smells of Viking York. Pre-booking is required online or phone. Select the “Free Adult” or “Free Child” option or by calling 01904 615505. 

LNER Community Stadium (York RLFC), Kathryn Avenue, Monks Cross Drive, Huntington, York, YO32 9AF 01904 670880 

Sunday only. Free tours at 11am, 12pm, 1pm, 2pm (12 people maximum per tour) 

Head inside the inner sanctum of North Yorkshire’s premier rugby league teams. The LNER Community Stadium hosts the York Knights and Valkyrie, who offer residents the chance to join them on stadium tours, sharing the full matchday journey of the players and taking in the club’s history. Meet at the York RLFC club shop 15 minutes before your booked tour time. Pre-booking is required by filling out this form: 

Lost Earth Adventures, Brimham Rocks, Summerbridge, Harrogate, HG3 4DW 500094 

Saturday and Sunday. Free three-hour taster session. 

Try rock climbing and abseiling at Brimham Rocks. Suitable for all abilities and anyone aged 7+. All equipment included. Maximum two people per booking. Pre-booking is required via email. 

Merchant Adventurers’ Hall, Fossgate, York, YO1 8XD 654818 

Saturday, 10am to 4pm. Free entry. 

Fascinating tales, awe-inspiring architecture and intriguing, rare artefacts to be explored at this timber-framed building. The Merchants’ Coffee House will be open, serving food and drinks. Pre-booking is not required. 

Merchant Taylors’ Hall, Aldwark, York, YO1 7BX 624889 

Sunday, 10am to 4pm. Free entry. 

Merchant Taylors of the City of York members will be on hand to explain the many colourful facets and intriguing 600-year history of this medieval hall. Pre-booking is not required. 

National Centre for Early Music, St Margaret’s Church, Walmgate, York, YO1 9TL 658338 

Sunday, 2pm to 4pm. Free session. 

A Residents’ Festival weekend special taster for the NCEM’s monthly singing session, Cuppa & A Chorus. No experience necessary; only a willingness to sing. Hot drinks and cakes too. Pre-booking is required online. 

Pilot Theatre – Monoliths VR, at York Explore Library, Library Square, Museum Street, York YO1 7DS 635755 

Saturday and Sunday, 10am to 12:30pm and 1.30pm to 5pm. Free event. 

A chance to experience virtual reality with York company Pilot Theatre’s Monoliths, exploring three northern environments with sweeping soundscapes and poetic monologues, in an event sponsored by York BID. Monoliths is an arresting testament to the inextricable link between person and place.

The Guildhall, St Martin’s Courtyard, Coney Street, York, YO1 9QL 328431 

Saturday and Sunday, 10am to 4pm. Free entry. 

Residents will have access to all areas of The Guildhall, with a self-guided interactive tour of the 15th century medieval hall, historic council chamber and committee room. All cakes and coffees will have 10 per cent off at the Riverside Cafe for the weekend, and those who complete the quiz will be in with a chance of winning  a £20 voucher for the Cafe Lounge. The venue’s wedding coordinators will also be on hand to show any newly engaged couples around. York Gin will be running free gin tastings and talks for residents from 11am on both days. Pre-booking is not required. 

The Grand, York, Station Rise, York, YO1 6GD 380038 

Saturday to Monday. Free tour.  

Step inside York’s only five-star hotel, previously the head offices for the North Eastern Railway HQ, for a guided tour of bedrooms, old railway offices, event spaces. Even meet the resident bees! Pre-booking is required online via Eventbrite: 

The Hole In Wand, 14-16 Coppergate Walk, York YO1 9NT 890135 

Saturday and Sunday, ,3pm to 9pm. Free entry. 

Visit “the world’s most magical golf course” in the heart of York. This Wizard-style adventure will see you tackle a bubbling cauldron and become part of a giant picture while you search for Grobblenook! Entry only; excludes potion. Pre-booking is required online. Use code RESFEST2023. 

William’s Den, Castle Farm, Wold Hill, North Cave, East Riding, HU15 2LS 472230 

Saturday and Sunday, 10am to 4pm. Free entry (but small booking fee).

Custom-built family adventure playscape with indoor play areas, climbing ropes and zip lines, woodland walks and pizza dining. Pre-book your free tickets for William’s Den online using the promo code YKRES2829.  A booking fee of 50p is payable.  

York Army Museum, 3 Tower Street, York, YO1 9SB 461010 

Saturday and Sunday, 10am to 4pm. Free entry. 

Discover the regiments’ stories from 1685 to the present day. Trails, crafts and object-handling. While here, collect a free mini-sketch book (made from recycled coffee cups), pencil and sketching guide to sketch your favourite parts of York as you go around the city. Pre-booking is not required. 

York Art Gallery, Exhibition Square, York, YO1 7EW 687687 

Saturday and Sunday, 10am to 4pm. Free entry. 

The galleries of fine art and ceramics are free to enjoy. Discover a new display of treasures from the stores. See jewels of the collection in a new light plus rarely displayed works. Pre-booking is required online. Maximum group size of six. 

York BID – Reunion, St Sampson’s Square, York, YO1 8RR 

On show until February 6.

York’s winter nights are being brightened up by Kumquat Lab’s light art installation, Reunion. Brought St Sampson’s Square by York BID, this artwork represents connectedness and the act of gathering together. 

York Castle Museum, Eye of York, York, YO1 9RY 687687 

Saturday and Sunday, 10am to 5pm. Free entry. 

Immerse yourself in 400 years of York’s history, whether the Victorian street Kirkgate, infamous prisoners in the spooky cells or the Swinging Sixties. Pre-booking is required online. Maximum group size of six. 

York Cemetery, Cemetery Road, York, YO10 5AJ 221152  

Sunday, 10am to 4pm.

The Friends of York Cemetery will open the Pritchett Chapel for self-guided walking trails, catacomb tours, garden walks and much more. Discover the cemetery’s history and make a cone bird feeder, an activity ideal for children. Free tea/coffee and cake. Pre-booking is not required. 

York Cold War Bunker, Monument Close, York, YO24 4HT 797935 

Saturday and Sunday, 10am to 4pm. Free entry. 

York Cold War Bunker uncovers the secret history of Britain’s Cold War. Enter the blast-proof doors and investigate the more unusual side of York’s heritage. In active service from the 1960s to the 1990s, the bunker was designed as a nerve-centre to monitor fallout in the event of a nuclear attack. Pre-booking is required online. Use code RESFES101 

York’s Chocolate Story, King’s Square, York, YO1 7LD 527775 

Saturday and Sunday, 9am to 6pm. Free entry for the first four tours each day.

This offer is for walk-ins only. Residents also will receive 20 per cent off the guided tours for the whole weekend. Pre-booking is not required. 

York Dungeon, 12 Clifford Street, York, YO1 9RD or 01904 632599 

Saturday to Tuesday (31/1/2023). Free entry before 12 noon.  

Limited availability. Tickets must be pre-booked online using the promotional code ydresfest23. Prebooking is required online via:  

York Explore Library: Map Attack! – Lego City of Wonder, Library Square, York, YO1 7DS 552828 

Saturday, 10am to 2pm.  

Drop in to use a range of Lego and Duplo to build the wonderful city of York. Take inspiration from historic maps of York from the city’s archives. What will you create? Pre-booking is not required. 

York Explore Library: Mapping Historic York Exhibition, Library Square, York YO1 7DS 552828 

Saturday, 10am to 4pm. 

Explore the history of York’s built environment. Learn about York as it was, as it is, and as it might have been in this display of original material from the city’s archive. Pre-booking is not required. 

York Mansion House, St Helen’s Square, York, YO1 9QL 01904 553663 

Saturday and Sunday, 10am to 5pm (last admission 4pm). Free entry. 

Walk in the footsteps of lords and ladies, cooks and butlers. Explore four floors, from the authentic Georgian kitchen below stairs to the 18th century splendour above, steeped in 300 years of scandal, secrets and superstition. Pre-booking is not required. 

York Medical Society, 23 Stonegate, York, YO1 8AW 849821 

Saturday and Sunday, 10am to 3pm 

York Medical Society has its own rooms within a beautiful Grade II listed building in Stonegate, providing a location for topical lectures, events and wedding receptions. Explore the building; refreshments will be available, with proceeds supporting York Foodbank. Pre-booking is not required. 

York Minster, Deangate, York, YO1, 7HH 557200 

Saturday and Sunday.

Experience panoramic views of York from the highest point in the city: York Minster’s Central Tower. See medieval stonework and gothic grotesques as you climb 275 steps to the top. You must be aged 8+ to climb the tower.

Trips run every 45 minutes, starting at 10.15am on Saturday, with the last taking place at 3.30pm. On Sunday, the first trip begins at 1.15 pm; the last at 2.45pm. Trips can only be booked in person on the day, are weather dependent and will be available on a first-come, first-served basis. Health and safety conditions apply; see website for details. 

York Steiner School, 33 Fulford Cross, York, YO10 4PB 654983 

Sunday. Tours at 9am, 10.30am, 12 noon or 1.30pm. 

A warm welcome awaits all York families at the seasonal craft day and tour. Experience the magic of a Steiner education over a hot drink in the cosy community room and find out why parents rate them so highly! Pre-booking is required via email or telephone. Numbers are limited to four families per session. 

Yorkshire Heart Vineyard & Brewery, The Vineyard, Pool lane, Nun Monkton, York, YO26 8EL 330716 

Sunday, 10am to 3.30pm. Free vineyard tour and wine tasting

Yorkshire Heart are offering wine tasting in their Winehouse café and a short vineyard and winery tour on the hour every hour from 11am until 2pm. Pre-booking is not required. 

Yorkshire Museum, Museum Gardens, Museum Street, York, YO1 7FR 687687 

Saturday and Sunday, 10am to 4pm. Free entry. 

Home to some of the greatest archaeological and geological finds in Britain. Explore York’s Roman, Viking and medieval past through a range of artefacts and meet our prehistoric predecessors in Yorkshire’s Jurassic World! For all the family. Pre-booking is required online. Maximum group size of six. 

York Theatre Royal, St Leonard’s Place, York, YO1 7HD 623568 

Sunday. Free tour.

Find out more about the fascinating history of the Theatre Royal, discover secrets about the backstage world and learn more about the building. Pre-booking is required via the box office. 


Mountain Goat Tours, Duncombe Place, York 445161 

Saturday and Sunday.

York residents will receive a 50 per cent discount. Pre-booking is required online using the promo code “YORK50”. 

York’s Hidden History, York city centre 040647 

Saturday and Sunday, 10am to 11am; 2pm to 3pm. 

Join York’s Hidden History and uncover the city’s ancient, natural and scientific secrets on their guided walks. For the Residents’ Festival, they will be offering a York Ice Walk in the morning and a Micklegate Meander in the afternoon. Pre-booking is required via the events section of their Facebook page: 

York Photo Walks

Meet outside York Art Gallery. 882794 

Saturday, 10am to 4pm. Free walk. 

The photo walks involve learning and developing photography knowledge, while exploring York’s rich history, people, nature and architecture. The aim is to inspire you to stretch your creative legs when out and about with your camera. Walks will take two hours. Pre-booking is required via email or phone.  

Wizard Walk of York, Shambles, by the railings of St Crux Church, York. 

Saturday, 4pm. Free tour. 

Join The Wizard of York for family fun with spellbinding magic, comedy and a dash of history. Ideal for ages five to ten and their families. Pre-booking is required via email. Please include details of the total number of adults and children. 


All Saints’ Church, North Street, York, YO1 6JD 191400 

Friday and Saturday, 10am to 4pm. 

All Saints’ Church has two days of events, with a coffee morning and church history talk on Friday,  followed by tours of the stained glass and anchorhold, fun family activities, and illuminated evensong and benediction on Saturday. All welcome. Pre-booking is not required. 

Central Methodist Church, St Saviourgate, York, YO1 8NQ 612171 

Saturday, 11am to 4pm. 

This Grade II-listed building, built in 1840, is one of the few chapels of its period still intact. See the horseshoe-shaped interior with gallery and box pews and listen to the organ, one of the finest in York. Pre-booking is not required. 

St Denys Church Welcome Day, Walmgate, York, YO1 9QD 246312 

Saturday, 10am to 4pm.

A warm community welcome is extended to allcomers with tea, tours, talks and entertainment under the theme of “Eat-Pray-Love…”, telling the history and ambition of St Denys Church, alongside refreshments both bodily and spiritual, while celebrating the refurbished church fabric and fabulous ‘Henry’ organ installation. 

Trinity Church York, St Anthony’s Hall, Peasholme Green, York, YO1 7PW 651726  

Saturday and Sunday.

Visit the medieval hall to see timber bracing, 15th century carvings and the home of a thriving church. Mini-lectures at 10am, 11am and 1pm on Saturday on Medieval Motherhood, How York Became Christian and The York Conservation Trust. Pre-booking is required via email. 

For Food and Drink and Retail offers, go to:

Later in the year 

Goddards, 27 Tadcaster Road, York, YO24 1GG 472027 

March 4 and 5, 11am to 4pm. 

Explore the garden where the Terry chocolatier family lived on its opening weekend for 2023. Five acres of garden rooms surround their former home. Discover fragrant borders, wildlife areas and glasshouse, alongside a more formal pond and lawn. Pre-booking is not required. 

Treasurer’s House, Minster Yard, York, YO1 7JL 624247 

April 23 and 24, 11 am to 4pm. 

Behind York Minster, discover this intriguing house on a tour. See the collection of fine antiques, art and furniture created by the wealthy, eccentric Industrialist Frank Green, who gave it to the National Trust in 1930. Pre-booking is required online via the website. Select National Trust member option and type RESFEST when asked for a membership number. Bring valid York Card or residency ID on the day. 

Why York city centre is all at sea as Tom Lewis’s neon art takes over coffee shop

Tom Lewis’s Neon Beasts: Adding a Splash Of Colour to the corner of Feasegate and Market Street, York, in Art Of Protest Projects’ latest city-centre installation

SOMETHING fishy is happening to York city centre.

The reason is Splash Of Colour: Neon Beasts, a street art installation that is making waves amid the throng of Christmas shoppers and night-time party people.

York urban art team Art Of Protest Projects has curated this “exciting space for residents and tourists to come and soak up” at the corner of Feasegate and Market Street.

Commissioned by the York Business Improvement District (BID), the installation features artist Tom Lewis’s Neon Beasts in a project designed to bring animation and theatre to the streets, together with footfall and smiles to a deprived part of the city centre.

Before: The empty former coffee shop

Art Of Protest Projects director Jeff Clark says: “The high streets have suffered in the UK since the Covid pandemic hit and many businesses have struggled to stay open. By targeting a specific area in York with a concentrated amount of empty shop-front windows, our mission was to uplift the streets and breathe new life into them, making the space an interesting place to walk past, even if people cannot walk inside.

“The result has been fantastic as the tired and unused streets have been transformed by an infusion of colour and energy, but also with a deeper meaning behind the art.” 

Splash of Colour: Neon Beasts utilises multiple forms of artistic media and aquatic features, designed to navigate people from Coney Street to Parliament Street in a curiously colourful way.

After: Tom Lewis’s shop-frontage conversion into a street art installation

The Art Of Protest Projects team asked whimsical Lewes artist Tom Lewis to bring” iconic scenery into focus that relates back to York’s history and relationship with its waterways”, using vibrant colours and imagery to create a modern piece of street art.

On the frontage of a former coffee shop, the team has covered the space from top to bottom with a mural wrap, painting the adjacent pillars to reveal ocean waves and applying floor art and colourfully painted benches, providing a place for people to stop and take in the beautiful scenery.

Look out for an information board that gives details of the individual sea creatures for passers-by, complemented by a QR code that leads to more info on the project and also connects it to the charity Blue Marine Foundation, acting as a call to action for people to learn more about the crisis brought on by overfishing.

Installation artist Tom Lewis

At night, the installation takes on an added radiance with ultraviolet lighting, illuminating the space and transforming the Neon Beasts into an even brighter and more impactful feature.

At first, the installation’s aquatic, underwater theme may seem unusual to residents and tourists alike, but Art Of Protest Projects communication director Brenna Allsuch says: “Almost every street that you walk down in the city of York is somehow linked to the history of the seas. The waters have provided a source of food, a pathway to reach foreign lands, a boundary divide to separate during war, and a travel network to expand the globe as we know it.

“York has had a plethora of historical importance, from its strong ties to the Romans where it saw incredible prosperity, to the years of struggling through the plague. Whether it be the Romans, the Saxons, the Vikings or during the mediaeval era, through to the more recent years of the Industrial Revolution, York has taken much of its trade and wealth from the seas.”

The information board for Tom Lewis’s installation

Jeff adds: “It’s always a wonderful feeling to be able to create a successful project, from concept and planning to full-scale delivery – and to see the instant effect that urban art has on people’s facial expressions and moods is a real privilege.

“We’ve done so many projects over the years with the intention of uplifting people’s spirits, including our last project with the York BID, the Guardians Of York, during the Covid pandemic, so to help bring a little bit of colour and joy to what was becoming quite a sad and unused thoroughfare in York was a really exciting opportunity to deliver on.

“We took an interesting concept, and by utilising the talent of artist Tom Lewis, we brought it to life. We’re super-proud of the result and the new space for people to come sit and relax.”

“We’re super-proud of the result and the new space for people to come sit and relax,” says Art Of Protest Projects director Jeff Clark

York artist Rosanna Johnson enthuses: “The high-street makeover by Art Of Protest Projects and Tom Lewis has done wonders for the street’s atmosphere. It’s so great to see it revamped and lit up with neon colours and aquatic shapes. I think young people especially will enjoy the feature. York needs more of this.”

Brenna concludes: “Intended for all ages and demographics, Splash Of Colour is a place to stop, to ponder, to laugh, to photograph, to share, to enjoy.” The installation will remain in place for several months. 

“Full-scale delivery”: A shark in the dark in Tom Lewis’s Neon Beasts installation

Stranded in France, Kyiv City Ballet’s first show since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine at York Theatre Royal on June 14 has sold out

Poised: Kyiv City Ballet are heading to York Theatre Royal for one night

KYIV City Ballet’s first British performance since Ukraine came under attack from Russia at York Theatre Royal on June 14 has sold out.

One hundred per cent of ticket sale proceeds will be donated to UNICEF’s Ukraine Appeal from the two-and-a-half-hour special performance that will be split into two parts under the direction of Ivan Kozlov and Ekaterina Kozlova. A class from the Kyiv City Ballet company will be followed by excerpts from ballets such as Swan Lake and The Nutcracker. 

York Theatre Royal chief executive Tom Bird personally invited Kyiv City Ballet to perform in York after learning of the company being stranded in France, where they were on tour as the war broke out in Ukraine. The dancers have stayed there ever since, given that it is too unsafe for them to return home to Ukraine.

“We are proud that York is able to stand in solidarity with Kyiv,” says York Theatre Royal chief executive Tom Bird, who has invited Kyiv City Ballet to the Yorkshire city

“It’s a huge honour to be hosting Kyiv City Ballet at York Theatre Royal,” says Bird. “This is the company’s first UK appearance since their city came under attack, and we are proud that York is able to stand in solidarity with Kyiv by supporting these extraordinary dancers for this one-off visit.” 

City partners in York have come together to make this fundraising performance a reality. Make It York, City of York Council and York BID are all supporting the Theatre Royal with organisation and logistics to bring Kyiv City Ballet to the city. 

Eurostar and LNER have stepped in to arrange the company’s return travel from France to York; Visit York members Elmbank Hotel, Malmaison, Middletons, Sandburn Hall, The Grand, The Principal and York Marriott have offered to accommodate the company and crew during their stay, while City Cruises and Bettys will be providing additional hospitality. A Civic welcome awaits at Mansion House.

Class act: Kyiv City Ballet will combine a dance class with excerpts from Swan Lake and The Nutcracker in June 14’s fundraising show

First Bus will support on the visa costs to bring the company to York; remaining costs and company fees for the performance will be covered through corporate sponsorship. 

Sarah Loftus, managing director of Make It York, says: “We are so proud of our city pulling together to bring the Kyiv City Ballet to York. This is a special opportunity to celebrate world-class performers, while raising vital funds for the people of Ukraine. The generosity of businesses and residents in York has made this possible.”

Councillor Darryl Smalley, executive member for culture, leisure and communities, says: “In what are incredibly dark times, it has been heartening to see York’s response as the city has come together to show our support and solidarity with our Ukrainian friends here in York and in Ukraine.

“Art has a unique way of uniting people and that’s certainly what we need more now than ever ,” says Councillor Darryl Smalley as he welcomes Kyiv City Ballet to York

“From donations and heart-warming signs of solidarity to housing refugees, it’s clear that we as a city are united and ready to do all we can to stand with Ukraine and its people.

“Art has a unique way of uniting people and that’s certainly what we need more now than ever. I’m grateful to all those involved for their support in setting up this amazing event. It will certainly be an emotional and wonderful evening for a crucial cause.”

Andrew Lowson, executive director of York BID, says: “It is always good to hear of high-quality cultural offerings coming to York, but for our city to attract the Kyiv City Ballet will feel really special.

“We are so proud of our city pulling together to bring the Kyiv City Ballet to York,” says Sarah Loftus, Make It York’s managing director

“Many of us feel helpless on how we can support Ukraine, but I know residents and businesses will want to show support and solidarity, as well as celebrate the visit of a world-renowned group of performers.” 

Adam Wardale, chair of Hospitality Association York (HAY) and general manager at Middletons Hotel, said: “The members of HAY are incredibly proud to be able to offer Ukraine’s Kyiv City Ballet performers accommodation throughout their stay in York.

“This is a fantastic opportunity to support Ukraine, showing solidarity while also celebrating the arts.”

Kyiv City Ballet: York to host first UK appearance since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine

24 acts in six days adds up to the first Live For St Leonard’s music festival fundraiser

Jonny & The Dunebugs: Topping the Live For St Leonard’s bill on September 24

THE debut Live For St Leonard’s fundraising music festival will take place over six days as part of York Food & Drink Festival 2021.

This charity event in aid of St Leonard’s Hospice will feature 24 live performances by musicians from York and the surrounding area, such as The Y Street Band, KissKissKill, Leather ’O, The Moths, Jonny & The Dunebugs and The Rusty Pegs.

The festivities will be held between 5pm and 9pm each evening in the event marquee in Parliament Street, where food and drink will be available from Food & Drink Festival participants.

Penny Whispers’ Harry Bullen and Terri-Ann Prendergast , who will be performing on September 23

All the live music events are free to attend, and St Leonard’s staff and volunteers will be collecting donations during the performances. Donations also can be made online via the  Just Giving page at:

The music acts have been arranged by Chris Bush, York BID’s business manager, whose time has been donated by York BID in support of the York Food & Drink Festival. “We have a sensational line-up of bands and solo artists that’s not to be missed,” he says.

“As a fellow musician, it’s so encouraging to see so many talented individuals enthused to get involved and do their bit for charity. I’m confident we can raise a considerable sum. It’s also a pleasure to be supporting both York Food & Drink Festival and St Leonard’s Hospice, which are two enormously valuable organisations for our city.”

Leather ‘O: Booked in for an 8pm slot on September 19

Michael Hjort, creative director of York Food & Drink Festival, says: “It’s a long-standing ambition of the festival to be active in the early evening and encourage those in the city during the day to stay on.

“Live music is a great way of doing this and at the same time we get to raise money for a great charity. We’re thrilled by the acts coming to play for Live for St Leonard’s.”

Emma Johnson, chief executive at St Leonard’s Hospice, says: “We’re delighted that Chris and the York Food & Drink Festival have chosen to support us with this fantastic event. It’s through the generosity of people in our community that we can continue to provide the best quality of end of care and support. Every donation really does make a difference to our patients and their families.”

The Live For St Leonard’s poster artwork

Here is the Live For St Leonard’s line-up:

Friday, September 17
5pm, Joshua Murray;
6pm, Bryony Drake;
7pm, Big Bad Blues Band;
8pm, The Y Street Band.

Saturday, September 18

5pm, Tri-Starrs;
6pm, Phil Hooley;
7pm, Zak Ford;
8pm, KissKissKill.

Sunday, September 19
5pm, Simon Snaize;
6pm, Joshua Murray;
7pm, White Sail;
8pm, Leather ‘O.

Gary Stewart: Opening act on September 24

Thursday, September 23
5pm, TBC;
6pm, Clive;
7pm, Penny Whispers;
8pm, The Moths.

Friday, September 24
5pm, Gary Stewart;
6pm, Fahrenheit V;
7pm, Andy Doonan;
8pm, Jonny & The Dunebugs.

Saturday, September 25
5pm, Jack Parker;
6pm, Miles Salter;
7pm, Smith n Wallace;
8pm, The Rusty Pegs.

The Rusty Pegs: The closing act for Live For St Leonard’s on September 25

Thready Pulse and J.See set bench mark with tranquil and mindful city-centre installation amid York’s shopping bustle

Bench mark: Jeff “J.See” Clark and Brenna “Thready Pulse” Allsuch stand by Art Of Protest Projects’ mural and photography installation in Parliament Street, York

TRANQUILITY through mindfulness is the aim of Art Of Protest Projects’ public street art collaboration with Thor’s Tipi Bar in York.

Project director Jeff Clark and communications  and support manager Brenna Allsuch are wearing different hats this time, bringing their own vibrant, uplifting mural and photography installation to Parliament Street at the epicentre of the city’s re-opened shopping streets.

Working under the monikers of Thready Pulse and J.See, respectively, muralist Brenna and photographer Jeff have created eight works for display on four benches to make their mark on the urban landscape.

Jeff Clark taking a photograph by York Minster

Focused on mindfulness and finding a quiet moment of peace in bustling and energetic surroundings, this series of installations – with large board canvases as backrests – features Brenna’s painted mountain range on one side and Jeff’s series of black-and-white cityscape photographs on the other.

“The aim of this collaborative project is to invite people to take a quiet rest as they soak in the city landscape,” says Jeff, whose latest project comes on the heels of the ongoing Guardians Of York, the AOP Projects and York BID collaboration with Brighton street artist collective The Postman to “honour and elevate” pandemic key workers from York.

“Placing art within an urban setting has the power to stop passers-by and encourage them to reflect on something they wouldn’t normally expect to see. It also draws people into the space and allows for conversation and engagement with friends and strangers alike.

Take a seat: Jeff Clark sits on one of his “Tranquility through Mindfulness” benches on Parliament Street, York

“This specific project uses various mediums in the form of paint, photography and construction to allow a multifaceted approach to urban seating and art.” 

Thready Pulse and J. See’s bench installation is dedicated to their beloved friend, Michael Feather, who passed away in April. “Michael was the father of our production manager and close friend, Craig Feather,” says Brenna.

“He sadly lost his battle with cancer just four weeks ago and we’ve all been feeling his loss. He was not an artist himself, but an amazing master joiner and carpenter who helped rebuild Chatsworth House [in Derbyshire].

In memory of Michael Feather: Brenna Allsuch and Jeff Clark pay tribute to their late friend’s love of nature and stillness with their bench installation for the public to enjoy tranquility amid the Parliament Street bustle

“Michael was a big part of our lives and his love of nature and stillness served as the inspiration for this piece. His continuous smile and curiosity with the world around him will be sorely missed, but our hope is that this project will serve as a reminder of his impact on his family and our community.”

Brenna and Jeff are grateful to City of York Council for funding and Make It York and York BID for their support. “We’re so excited for this installation to bring smiles and hopefully a feeling of peaceful mindedness to the city of York,” she says.

“Working on these murals and knowing they will be so prominently placed within the city allowed me to step outside of my usual practice and create a series of works that wants to invite people in, stop them in their tracks and allow them to just take a deep breath and refocus their busy mind.”

“Walking through a busy city centre, you don’t expect to come around the corner and see a large mountain landscape,” says Jeff Clark, as he applies his brush to Brenna Allsuch’s mural

Jeff adds: “Walking through a busy city centre, you don’t expect to come around the corner and see a large mountain landscape. Even better, as you walk away and reflect back on the installation, the other side features high-impact iconic black and white imagery of the city of York.”

Under his nom de l’art of J.See, multi-media artist and photographer Jeff Clark works with multi- layered images but predominantly 35mm black-and-white negative film that he then hand processes in a dark room, as well as digital images from various cameras.

Brenna Allsuch, alias Thready Pulse, is a hand-embroidery artist, mural designer and painter from her home studio in York. Trained as an ICU nurse, she is also AOP Projects as head of communications and project support manager. 

“I first painted a mountain mural on a wall in my home and fell in love with mixing colours and creating a sense of depth just by adding lights and darks together,” says muralist Brenna Allsuch

Born in Phoenix, Arizona, Brenna moved around Australia and Europe – Norway, Germany and Ireland – and ended up in Austin, Texas, where she spent 15 years. “I moved to the UK almost four years ago and came to York because I wanted to leave the USA and settle in a city where I could raise my kids in a safer environment,” she says.

“Between the political landscape in the USA and having the ability to move abroad, thanks to having English citizen children, York seemed like a great place to settle, and I’m so glad I moved here; I absolutely love it.” 

If her mountain artwork looks familiar to you from another York locale, you are correct: she designed the glass-frontage display at Skosh, Neil Bentinck’s restaurant of the gods in Micklegate.

Mountainous task: Brenna Allsuch, alias Thready Pulse, at work on her bench mural in Parliament Street, York

“I’ve always loved the mountains and have always had an interest in murals,” says Brenna, who also uses mountains as a reference in her modern hand embroidery.

“I first painted a mountain mural on a wall in my home and fell in love with mixing colours and creating a sense of depth just by adding lights and darks together.

“Having painted the mountain mural for Skosh, it seemed like an easy choice when we were approached by Thor’s Tipis to create a backdrop on interesting urban benches. I’m excited to continue to explore mountain ranges as a form of murals, as well as other landscapes, both realistic and abstract.”

Brenna Allsuch, ICU nurse, embroiderer, mural artist and Art Of Protest Projects project manager, poses beside street art collective The Postman’s mural of her in Bishopthorpe Road for their Guardians Of York installation. Picture: Dave J Hogan

Explaining the moniker Thready Pulse, Brenna says: “It comes from the medical term defined as ‘a scarcely perceptible and commonly rapid pulse that feels like a fine mobile thread under a palpating finger’.

“I’ve practised as a registered nurse for eight years, most recently working in the intensive care unit at York District Hospital, and when I first delved into the world of embroidery art about three years ago, I thought this was a fitting name for me, suggesting my love for both medicine and fibre arts.”

Her work as an ICU nurse in pandemic times has seen Brenna feature in The Postman’s series of Guardians Of York street art murals. Look out for her, shock of pink hair and all, on the end wall of Millie’s, the grocery store on Bishopthorpe Road.

Writing on the wall: Note the cacophony of words emanating from The Postman’s mural of Brenna Allsuch for the Guardians Of York installation series

Everything’s going to the wall as The Postman delivers street art tribute to key workers in Guardians Of York murals

Steve Wasowa, ICU doctor, York District Hospital, turned into street art by The Postman

YORK public art pioneers Art Of Protest Projects and The York BID are collaborating on a street art series of murals to “honour and elevate pandemic key workers from York”. 

They are working with The Postman, the anonymous international street artist collective tasked with creating the ancient city’s first urban art installation to celebrate the Guardians Of York, who helped to keep York moving when the city – and the world – came to a standstill during Covid-19 lockdowns.

Inviting people back into the city once Lockdown 3 eases, Jeff Clark, director of Art of Protest Projects, says: “Helping people to realise the difference that urban art can make to a town or city, through its presence in York, has been something we’ve been working towards for a long time.

Gill Shaw, Boots retail worker

“To be able to do it with such outstanding artists like The Postman, as well as our homegrown heroes, was beyond anything I could have imagined when we first set out.”

Eleven essential workers, all of them York residents, were recorded by a professional film crew in the closed Debenhams store in Davygate, giving their account of the hardships of working through the upheaval created by the pandemic, and all had their portrait photographs taken.

Taking part were: Becky Arksy, primary school teacher; Pauline Law, police officer; Sally and Mark Waddington, York Rescue Boat; Martin Golton, street cleaner, and Steve Wasowa, ICU doctor, York District Hospital.

Steven Ralph, postal worker

So too were: Steve and Julia Holding, owners of the Pig and Pastry, in Bishopthorpe Road, and founders of the Supper Collective; Steven Ralph, postal worker; Gill Shaw, Boots retail worker, and Brenna Allsuch, ICU nurse, York District Hospital.

Their images have been transformed into murals by The Postman collective, whose favoured artistic medium is pop-culture paste-ups, rooted in punk, wherein they express themselves in brightly coloured, edgy, urban portraits, varying from street artworks of Nelson Mandela in South Africa to pop stars in Los Angeles.

“As the Guardians project builds momentum, we realise more and more how important it is to tell the stories of the people behind the masks,” say the mystery duo with roots in graffiti culture. “The key workers that have carried us through the last year inspired us and made a difference to everybody’s lives.”

Pauline Law, police officer

The Guardians Of York will be displayed on city-centre walls in a three-month installation from April 9 to July 9, in a show of gratitude to key workers timed to coincide with the relaxation of lockdown restrictions and the reopening of many of the city’s “non-essential” businesses, potentially from April 12.

Recalling the dissolving street art of York memorial artist Dexter, The Postman will be applying their paper-based large-scale artworks to walls with wheat paste, their impermanent form of art fading and washing away over time, duly creating a buzz as people seek them out before they disappear.

Jeff Clark has worked closely with Andrew Lawson, executive director of York BID (Business Improvement District), who says: “The BID has supported a couple of street art projects in the city over the past few years and its new five-year business plan outlines how it would like to provide more support in this area.

“To be able to do it with such outstanding artists like The Postman, as well as our homegrown heroes, was beyond anything I could have imagined when we first set out,” says Art Of Protest Projects director Jeff Clark

“The Guardians Of York is an apt project to kick off reopening in 2021, as it will add a splash of colour to the city, while reminding the public of those local heroes who have worked hard to keep us all safe.”

Jeff’s art and media company delivers large and small-scale exhibitions, murals and projects, both nationally and globally, but he was particularly keen to bring alive a new project in his home city, where he previously invited Static – alias Scarborough street art duo Craig Evans and Tom Jackson – to construct murals on the floor of the Art Of Protest gallery, in Little Stonegate, at Brew York, Walmgate, and down a Coney Street alleyway in October 2018.

“By nature I’m a bit of a hippie, but I have the connections to deliver on my beliefs, working on projects in London, New York and Los Angeles ” says Jeff, whose upcoming ideas stretch to creating an open-air museum and laser art (that will not be mere pie in the sky).

Mark Waddington, from the York Rescue Boat team

“I don’t see why I can’t bring my ideas to my home city, so that’s why I’m working with Andrew Lawson, discussing at length how we might implement such ideas, starting with this installation trail with high impact for three months.

“Projects could look at York heroes of the past, but it would be churlish at the moment to do right now when the biggest heroes are our key workers.”

Jeff was keen too to break away from the prevailing images of such workers. “Rather than having yet more tired faces, we want to remind people that there is hope and a path out of this pandemic.

Julia Holding, Pig and Pastry co-owner and Supper Collective co-founder

“It is a world of fear, love and compassion, but these portraits not only show us that, yes, these workers do work that keeps the world going round, but they go home to their families, and they all want to make the world a better place than they came into.”

Mounting the Guardians Of York is a passion project for Jeff and The Postman.  “They like to do street art that makes a difference, and my partner is an NHS frontline worker, so I’ve seen every day how Covid has worn them down, sacrificing their own health. It’s no wonder that nurses have gone down, had to stop working, because they’re frazzled,” he says.

“They’ve had to go into a war-like atmosphere, where normally you’d do a tour and then be sent home, for a break, but that’s not been the case. That’s why my heart and soul has gone into this project.”    

Martin Golton, street cleaner

Let the last word go to project participant Brenna Allsuch, ICU nurse and project support manager to boot. “Telling my story in such a real and raw way has helped me to understand the weight of this year, and to reflect on all the highs and lows,” she says.

“Beyond that, it’s made me feel like I’m part of a community, a collective of people that have not stopped going.”

To watch a video about the project, go to:

“Telling my story in such a real and raw way has helped me to understand the weight of this year,” says ICU nurse Brenna Allsuch

Copyright of The Press, York