Whether you’re an avid collector, an art buff or simply a lover of beauty, art galleries are the perfect way to while away an afternoon or two – and York has plenty of independents.
Offering an insight into what’s ticking in the art world, these galleries showcase anything from traditional fine art, modernist sculpture, artisan jewellery and hand-crafted homeware pieces, making them wonderful little cathedrals of creativity.
So if you’re waiting to be inspired, here’s our list of some art galleries in York…
Blossom Street Art Gallery
Blossom Street Gallery, which makes its home in the historic Micklegate quarter of the city, was conceived to bring local artists and creatives together in a central space and provide an opportunity for Yorks’ residents and visitors to enjoy local artwork. Blossom Street hosts regular exhibitions with notable artists, predominantly from Yorkshire but sometimes from a little further afield.
They aim to offer art which everybody can enjoy – from original pieces, to prints, to handcrafted and design-led gifts and cards, and innovative framing options and supplies. And for creatives (amateur or polished) the gallery also stocks a range of art supplies, so you can call in for paints and brushes or simply for some inspiration!
Blossom Street stresses that “everyone is welcome, including furry friends!” and there’s even a blackboard wall to entertain the wee’uns while you have a look around.
So whether you’re looking for an original artwork, a unique gift or card, or just a space to enjoy some inspirational art and design – this is the place for you.
Lotte Inch Gallery
Lotte Inch Gallery first came to York in 2012 in the form of a pop-up art gallery space – but many glorious years later and after several small pop-up exhibitions, the gallery moved from its previous space near York Minster to its current location in bustling 14 Bootham.
The eponymous Lotte comes from a background in Art History and Heritage, having worked for The National Trust; Scampston Hall and Gardens; and The Stanley & Audrey Burton Gallery at The University of Leeds, amongst others – making her a mastermind when it comes to art.
The gallery is the ideal place to discover new artists, designers and makers, alongside established names and figures, hoping to be a “welcoming and inclusive place with a regularly changing programme of exhibitions. Carefully sourced collectable ceramics, design items, jewellery and gifts will also complement the exhibitions.”
And with a changing programme of group shows and solo exhibitions throughout the year there’s something here for every budget and for all tastes, making it a wonderful space in which to explore art in all its forms – from print and painting to ceramics, jewellery and small-scale sculpture.
According to McGee Gallery
According to McGee is a contemporary art gallery found opposite Clifford’s Tower and close to the River Ouse, dedicated to exhibiting the most “exciting artists in the UK” – whether they are established, emerging or just starting out.
For 14 years directors Greg and Ails McGee have been displaying a mix of works in their gallery, from sculpture to photography, with prints of the work available for purchase online – selling to collectors the world over.
From Goldsmiths and Glasgow School of Art graduates, to rock star and Pop Artist Horace Panter and 1960s legend Doug Binder, According to McGee is “an increasingly well regarded gallery space of note” with knowledgeable and passionate minds behind the project – making it one of the best places to discover something new.
Blue Tree Gallery
Established in 2011, Blue Tree is an independent contemporary art gallery on 23 Bootham – unmissable with its striking blue front and tall, glass windows.
With a welcoming and informal atmosphere and attracting first time buyers and collectors alike, Blue Tree showcases a wide range of original paintings, original prints, ceramics & jewellery from established artists both local and international.
They are also Art Council approved with the ‘Own Art’ scheme – an easy and affordable way to collect art with interest free installments, making the buying process simple for a variety of budges and hold six exhibitions a year.
Pop in if you have a wall that looks a little too bare and pick up something wonderful.
Kentmere House Gallery
For a gallery with a real “homely” feel, look no further than Kentmere House.
Kentmere’s original art is displayed in multiple rooms of a fine Victorian house overlooking York’s famous Knavesmire race-course, welcoming visitors in with a friendly smile and welcoming atmosphere.
The house and gallery is owned by Ann and David Petherick, which opened after Ann moved to York from Suffolk in 1979 and was amazed to find that there was no contemporary gallery.
She set up Grape Lane Gallery with two partners in 1984, but after visiting galleries in private houses in other parts of the country “she was attracted to the idea and Kentmere House was chosen for the purpose” – opening in 1991. They’ve been offering advice to new purchasers and established collectors ever since, with the aim of being unpretentious and as helpful as possible.
As a side note: the gallery is still a home, so make sure to check the website for their opening times, or give them a quick call beforehand to make sure Ann and David are in before you drop by!
There is a certain joy in browsing and collecting art that’s entirely unique from person to person, as are gallery experiences. So whether you’re in the market for an original piece to go above the fireplace or just for a simple postcard print to pop in a frame – these galleries are the best places to start your journey.