Our favourite Leeds art galleries and spaces

Feature by Hayley Reid | 21 Jun 2016

If you're looking for visual art in Leeds, the city has a healthy number of spaces showing contemporary work. From artist-led galleries like Patrick Studios to major institutions such as the Tetley and Henry Moore Institute, we've selected eight must-visit spaces – whether you're a tourist or resident. 

London, Berlin, Paris… Leeds? Making a name for itself on the international contemporary art scene, Leeds is a city born from industry but fast establishing itself as a centre for creativity. Its galleries boast world-class exhibitions, and its art collectives, charitable organisations and artist-led spaces contribute to the ever-growing scene in the city.

The Leeds art scene is populated each year by the plethora of students and recent graduates of the three higher education institutions (Leeds College of Art, the University of Leeds and Leeds Beckett University), which offer a range of art courses in addition to more specialist degrees in museum studies and curation. The opportunities available through various institutions and organisations in Leeds are allowing creatives from across the country to stay and work in the city, boosting Leeds' cultural scene.

Every year sees more spaces for displaying art popping up across the city centre and in the surrounding areas.

Here’s a look at just a few of the great spaces for visual art in Leeds open for you to check out: from large institutions to small, artist-led project spaces.


The changing shop front of this central Leeds art space is rather unassuming, blending seamlessly into the East Parade row of nail salons and sandwich bars. Upon entering, you are greeted with an ambitious curatorial project spread across three floors, with past exhibitions and projects having ranged from the intimate drawings of Fay Ballard (J.G. Ballard’s daughter) to Project Radio, a space for artists and the public to make radio. At a stone's throw from Leeds Art Gallery, &Model is one to visit. 19 East Parade, @andmodelleeds

[Pictured: past exhibition 'Wayfaring' at &Model, Leeds]

Patrick Studios

As a working studio with more than 30 spaces for artists to work, Patrick Studios also offers an exhibition space with a programme of contemporary art often relating to the city or created by local artists. Patrick Studios is also the physical and spiritual home to East Street Arts: a contemporary arts organisation and charity which supports many of the spaces and curatorial projects in this list. East Street Arts' work during their 23 years of activity is phenomenal, and can be felt through various projects including the newly opened Art Hostel on Kirkgate. Saint Mary's Lane, @EastStreetArts | #PatrickStudios

The Brunswick

A new addition to North Street’s growing bar scene, The Brunswick boasts a range of ales downstairs and a dedicated art space on the top floor. The room has worked as a timeshare space for artist collectives, and hosted zine and print fairs. As an indie bar, The Brunswick works to accommodate creatives and their visions for the room, with past uses having included feminist readings, artist movement workshops, publication launches and as a society meeting place. 82 North St, @brunswickleeds

[Pictured: recent exhibition at The Brunswick by Theo Simpson and Craig Barker, 'Every Possible Question Vanished']

Assembly House

Take a short bus or cab ride outside of the city centre and head down by the canal for this fantastic artist-led studio and project space, situated inside an old textiles mill. Assembly House was created to provide affordable solutions for artists to work and share ideas through a co-operative working environment. The 8x8m project space has hosted exhibitions of sculpture, video installation and paintings, and the friendly, dedicated team are on hand behind the makeshift bar to offer a refreshment or chat about the work on display. 44 Canal Rd, @Assembly_Leeds

[Pictured: Joshua Hart, 'Solid Silver' exhibition at Assembly House, Leeds]

The Gallery at Munro House

Munro House is the gateway to Leeds' art quarter and houses over 40 creative businesses, designers, music practice studios and, of course, a stellar art gallery. The Gallery hosts a range of exhibitions from photography to illustration and often supports wider initiatives across the city, including a partnership with Leeds Indie Food festival. This has led to two edible exhibitions – one of which recreated famous contemporary art pieces in cake! Corner of York St & Duke St, @leedsgallery

Live Art Bistro

This large and changing space has played host to projects as diverse as a late-night yoga market and a 100-person sleepover in response to the Occupy movement. Voluntarily run and self-described as ‘independent, artist-led, local, global, DIY, friendly and approachable,’ Live Art Bistro is a feast of creative talent and new experiences often accompanied by great music, food and art. 1 Regent St, @LiveArtBistro

The Tetley

Situated in the former headquarters of the Tetley Brewery, The Tetley is a transformative contemporary art exhibition space which focuses on education and community engagement for people of all ages and backgrounds. There is always opportunity for discussions about the high standard of art on display, with the hope that it can inspire future artistic talents. The bar and kitchen downstairs is a great place to kick off the discussions over brunch. Hunslet Rd, @The_Tetley

Henry Moore Institute

Set up in 1977 and dedicated to the appreciation of visual arts, the Henry Moore Institute has been long established as a world-leading institution to study sculpture. Why not take a seat in the research library before heading in to see the gallery's award-winning exhibitions that highlight the best in contemporary sculpture? The Institute's programme of talks, conferences and lectures are open to all and are often free, to secure sculptor Henry Moore’s vision of engaging the public in sculpture. 74 The Headrow, @HMILeeds

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