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The Tetley

I had my first meeting today at the new Leeds art space, The Tetley. It was great to have an excuse after the meeting to have a quick look around.

The Tetley is a centre for contemporary art and learning and is based in the former Tetley Brewery HQ. I had extra interest as my Granddad was once the longest serving Tetley landlord and I remember him regularly announcing he was going to a very important meeting down at the brewery. Founded by Joshua Tetley in 1822, the Tetley name represents one of Leeds’ oldest manufacturing dynasties and has been synonymous with the city for over 200 years.

My first impressions are that the renovation of the building is fantastic and the space is a really great addition for the city. The development has used many of the buildings original features and combined them with some really nice modern additions.

However, it has to be said I was pretty disappointed with the current exhibition on display. The central art piece was out of order and roped off and the rest of the show was uninspiring and rather dull. It brought back memories of fine art foundation shows back in 1986. I felt a little bit sorry for the mini bus of Leeds College of Art students who arrived and looked thoroughly bored on their tour of the building. I do hope the exhibition content improves and that the people behind the Tetley Project Space Leeds, really consider carefully its potential visitors and exhibition contents. I am definitely no art expert, but shows like this really make it easy to understand why “Art” has such a bad rap with the majority of the community. Personally the content is too high art and that really is a shame.

Being from a non fine art background I obviously do not have any expert knowledge but through education and work experiences I am genuinely interested in having my cultural tastebuds developed. Unfortunately, along with the students I was fully uninspired with my first visit. I do not think such a great building with a lovely bar area is just enough to inspire regular return visits.

Fingers crossed, hopefully the content will improve as I would love to visit on a regular basis and more than just for a beer and a sandwich. The space is truly inspiring and a renovation well done and the area and the building have such great potential. I hope it does generate interest for others rather than just the art hipster highbrow gang.