Art for free: Shouldn’t it be?

Bec Horner

Bec Horner

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Art for free: Shouldn’t it be?

I went to the Hepworth Gallery during half term with my kids and their friends. It’s an amazing space showing off a huge array of different art in an inspiring building. And it is totally free.

The kids immediately pounced on the pencils and papers provided in the gallery; drawing stuff and sniffing round the art. And then went to the brilliant craft room where they rolled up their sleeves and, after first producing string ink patterns, went on to create their own 3D sculptures with a bit of assistance from super practical and friendly staff.

It was a great day all round. I did the same kind of thing with my Mum too, when I was little.

I also love York Art Gallery. The space, light, exhibitions and resources are second to none. I really love going there. But there is something different there, something missing which I couldn’t quite put my finger on. And then a friend pointed out that it was a real shame it wasn’t free. And that hit the nail on the head. York Art Gallery never feels full of life. There are always a few people wandering around, but it doesn’t feel like a space for the masses. And I wonder if this is because it charges people to get in?

What happened to the days when you could just pop in to a gallery, like you can with a library and get  a 10 minute Art ‘fix’?

I have a YMT Card (which for a York resident costs £11 a year). It is worth it for me. My kids and I go to the Yorkshire Museum a lot and the Gallery and the Castle Museum too.. but what if you can’t afford it? I was pleased on researching further that if you are 17-24 or in receipt of Pension Credit, Income-Related Employment and Support Allowance, Income-Based Job Seeker’s Allowance, or Income Support and a York resident you can get a free one, but I don’t know how many people know that?

I suppose I just wonder whether the gallery could have a free day once a week maybe, or once a month… or offer a pay-it-forward option on their membership whereby you can pay a little extra and your membership gives the opportunity for someone else to have one. It’s just a thought.

Ultimately I think it is a shame not everyone gets to go to such a great Gallery in their own city.







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