ART often inspires art but it’s not so common for the inspiration to be found within the gallery itself.
A group of Harrogate College students have been working with Harrogate contemporary art dealer and gallery owner Andrew Stewart on art directly inspired by the history and environment of Stewart’s characterful family home in Harrogate.
This unique project reaches its culmination in an exhibition on Saturday, February 25, showcasing a diverse and innovative response to the building, a large late Georgian house on Cold Bath Road steeped in history.
Works will include film, installation, painting and ceramics.
The collaboration between Stewart of 108 Fine Art gallery and the seven BA (Hons) Applied Creative Design Visual Arts students began in October as the first phase of extensive restoration work at the house was reaching completion.
Andrew said: “During the past few months, the experience of being allowed to follow the artists through the development of their ideas, has confirmed that contemporary art is alive and flourishing in Harrogate.
“Who knows what great potential artists of tomorrow may already be on our doorstep.”
Andrew took a major gamble buying the rundown house at 16 Cold Bath Road less than two years ago
Although oozing character, partly thanks to previous owners, the Douglasses, who, were well-known art collectors, the building’s 26 rooms and numerous hidden nooks and crannies had become a bit bedraggled over the years.
The initial stages of the project with Harrogate College saw Andrew showing all the students around the house and talking about its history.
From there students chose a space, interior or exterior, they wished to respond to.
Some took artefacts belonging to the house to reconstruct or recycle into installations such as books, a carpet, a gas meter, even, and sent proposals to Andrew.
One of the students, Sarajayne Murray said: ‘’Working on this brief has been a real opportunity for us to develop as artists and use the skills we have learned within our studies at Harrogate college.
“Its been intriguing to see how we all began with the same brief and yet our individual styles, methods and the materials mean our original ideas have manifest themselves in very different ways.’’
Andrew hopes that part of the house will eventually be used as an art gallery with a permanent collection of the late Leeds artist Joash Woodrow, as well as exhibiting works by young contemporary artists such as Paul Reid, Anna King and Yukako Sakakura.