As a first time visitor to Leeds, it was interesting to see a city that at first sight appears to have no fears about the intermixing of different architectural styles and periods. Our reason for being there was to visit with East Street Arts.
ESA is “a contemporary arts organisation in Leeds.” Their “mission is to focus on the development of artists through their events programme, membership activities, professional development and studio/facility provision.” What is very interesting is to see their deep involvement in many different projects across Leeds, with off sight programmes, studios etc being only one part. In particular their approach to vacant properties was both innovative and very interesting to consider within an Irish context.
At the meeting we agreed that both VAI and ESA have an amount that we can learn from each other, and with this in mind ESA will bring a group to Ireland to meet and discuss common areas of interest with the visual artist community here. More about that when we start the detailed planning.