Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Leeds has the vision to meet future challenges

Population increase, global warming and the recession are all massive challenges facing Leeds over the next 30 years. But Leeds is ready to meet these challenges head-on.

Members of Leeds City Council have endorsed an ambitious new plan, which sets out the future priorities for the city for the next 20 years.

At a meeting of the full council today (Wednesday 13 July) members approved the new Vision for Leeds 2011 to 2030, a long-term plan for the future development of the city, which has been put together after extensive consultation with local residents, school children and businesses across the city.

The overall aim of the Vision for Leeds is to improve life for the people of Leeds and make the city a better place. After listening carefully to what local people, businesses and organisations said the ultimate vision for 2030 is to be the best city in the UK, by being:
• fair, open and welcoming;
• having a prosperous and sustainable economy; and
• having successful communities.

Cllr Keith Wakefield, leader of Leeds City Council said:
“This Vision is ambitious – but it needs to be - we have some big challenges ahead of us. With massive population growth, cuts in public spending and the effects of climate change all to plan for we need have concrete plans in place.

“We will play our part by helping Leeds to become the best council in the country, but we cannot implement this Vision alone. We want to see all people, businesses and organisations get behind this collective effort.

“The success of our city depends on all of us working together to make sure that our Vision and all our plans and strategies are robust and have been tested and challenged. We will make sure that we continue to work in partnership and with local communities to achieve the best for the people of Leeds.”

Tom Riordan, chief executive of Leeds City Council added:
“We are setting ourselves a massive challenge – to be the best city in the country - not the richest or the biggest, but the best for all who live and work in Leeds - our children, our communities and our businesses. A place where everyone can enjoy a good quality of life.”

Leeds Initiative last published a long-term plan for the city in 2004; however since then much has changed both globally and locally. The city of Leeds is facing a series of major challenges. Despite becoming wealthier as a city over the last 20 years, Leeds still has too many deprived areas, where there is a poor quality of life, low educational performance, too much crime and anti-social behaviour, poor housing, poor health, and families where no one has worked for generations. The city needs to continue to tackle the multiple problems of poverty and to improve all parts of Leeds.

Following the consultation the top priorities to emerge were:
• good quality, reliable public transport;
• a cleaner, greener city;
• new job opportunities;
• a sense of community spirit;
• good community relations;
• safety; and
• culture and entertainment.

Alongside the long-term Vision for Leeds, the Leeds Initiative is publishing the City Priority Plan, which sets out the key outcomes and priorities to be delivered by the council, and its partners, over the next four years. The priority plan will help the city address short-term challenges resulting from the reduced public funding between now and 2015. It sets out the priorities to help the city tackle the urgent issues that need to be addressed now.
Both the Vision for Leeds and the City Priority Plan will be formally launched at a series of community events between 19 and 21 September.

For media enquiries, please contact:
Emma Whittell, Leeds City Council press office, on (0113) 2474713

Leeds Art Gallery opens doors for first-ever Damien Hirst exhibition

Caption: Two of the works by Damien Hirst which will be on display in the free exhibition at Leeds Art Gallery - (captions which must be used in full as below)

Away from the Flock, 1994
© Damien Hirst and Science Ltd. All rights reserved, DACS 2011

The Anatomy of an Angel
Carrara Marble
73.62 x 38.58 x 30.91 in (1870 x 980 x 785 mm)
Photographed by Prudence Cuming Associates
© Damien Hirst and Science Ltd. All rights reserved, DACS 2011

The first-ever major public exhibition of works by world-famous artist Damien Hirst in the city where he grew up begins at Leeds Art Gallery this week.

The much-anticipated exhibition organised by Leeds City Council as part of the national ARTIST ROOMS programme and sponsored by Leeds-based legal firm Walker Morris opens to the public for free from Friday (15 July).

The exhibition which takes in three rooms of the art gallery on The Headrow showcases Hirst’s work throughout his career and includes items from the London restaurant he co-owned, Pharmacy, exhibited as a gallery display for free for the first time anywhere in the world.

*************MEDIA OPPORTUNITY***********************
The press preview for the Damien Hirst ARTIST ROOMS exhibition takes place at Leeds Art Gallery on The Headrow at 2pm on Thursday 14 July. The preview will be led by the gallery's curator of contemporary art Nigel Walsh. All media are welcome to attend.
**************MEDIA OPPORTUNITY*********************

The works on display reflect the development of Hirst’s career from his student days which began at Leeds College of Art and Design to his later works after he had established himself as one of the world’s highest-profile artists.

Alongside the iconic ‘Away from the Flock’, one of Hirst’s signature pieces of animals suspended in formaldehyde which shot him to international prominence in the early 1990s, the exhibition will also feature a large cabinet piece ‘Trinity – Pharmacology, Physiology, Pathology’ (2000), ‘Monument to the Living and the Dead’ (2006), the large butterfly painting ‘Mantra’ (2008) and a spot painting from 1994.

Hirst himself and his studio have played a major part in the planning of the exhibition, which is part of the national ARTIST ROOMS programme which sees collections of modern and contemporary art held by Tate and National Galleries of Scotland going on display around the country.

Displayed alongside the ARTIST ROOMS element of the exhibition, further items have been loaned from private collections such as ‘Anatomy of an Angel’ carved from carrara marble (2008) and ‘He Tried to Internalise Everything’ from the Arts Council Collection.

These are then further supported by the ‘Pharmacy’ element, displayed as a full room-like installation that echoes the original Notting Hill restaurant open from 1998 to 2003 for which Hirst designed the majority of the internal layout.

Leeds City Council executive member for leisure Councillor Adam Ogilvie said:

“We cannot wait for Friday to come and to open the doors so the public can see these amazing works for themselves for free.

“Following on from the recent Henry Moore exhibition it is fantastic that we welcome the work of another of the iconic artists associated with Leeds in the form of Damien Hirst to Leeds Art Gallery in this way for everyone to enjoy.

“This is without doubt a must-see exhibition and we are very grateful to everyone who helped make it happen and especially to Walker Morris for their generous support as sponsors.”

Walker Morris partner Debbie Jackson said:

“Walker Morris has over 20 years of history of sponsoring the arts and we are thrilled to be involved in this latest initiative to help make the works of one of the nation's iconic artists available to everyone. Encouraging art at every level is something we are very proud of as a firm - from the grass roots at primary school age through our calendar competition, to events of international prestige such as this exhibition. Throughout his career, Damien Hirst has encouraged us to look at the world differently and challenged our perceptions, which is something we encourage in our approach to business and legal practice too.

“Our sponsorship follows on from our successful partnership in 2006 when we brought Saatchi's 'Triumph of Painting' exhibition to Leeds Art Gallery, which was hugely successful and broke all visitor records at the time."

ARTIST ROOMS is jointly owned by Tate and National Galleries of Scotland and was established through The d’Offay Donation by collector Anthony d’Offay in 2008, with the assistance of the National Heritage Memorial Fund, The Art Fund and the Scottish and British Governments. ARTIST ROOMS On Tour is an inspired partnership with the Art Fund - the fundraising charity for works of art, making available the ARTIST ROOMS collection of international contemporary art to galleries throughout the UK.

Running alongside the exhibition of Hirst’s work will be ‘A Series of Artworks Carefully Arranged’ curated by Visual Communication students from Leeds College of Art. The exhibition has been drawn from works from the art gallery’s permanent collection inspired by the themes of Hirst’s career.

This forms part of ARTIST ROOMS On Tour with The Art Fund, which is devised to reach and inspire new audiences across the country, particularly young people.

The Damien Hirst ARTIST ROOMS exhibition at Leeds Art Gallery runs until Sunday 30 October and is open Monday and Tuesday 10am - 5pm, Wednesday 12pm - 5pm, Thursday - Saturday 10am - 5pm and Sunday 1pm - 5pm. Admission is free.

To find out more information about ARTIST ROOMS On Tour visit To see the full ARTIST ROOMS collection visit and

For more information on Leeds Art Gallery visit the website at

Notes to editors:

The ARTIST ROOMS Damien Hirst display has been shown previously at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh and at Tate Britain, but this is the first time elements from Pharmacy will be on show.

The ‘Pharmacy Restaurant & Bar’ was a joint venture between Damien Hirst, PR guru Matthew Freud, Liam Carson, (now deceased) of the Groucho Club and Jonathan Kennedy, a co-founder of the earlier ‘Quo Vadis’ restaurant.

The Art Fund is the national fundraising charity, helping UK museums and galleries to buy, show and share art. For more information on The Art Fund call 020 7225 4888 or visit

In September 2008 items of Damien Hirst’s work smashed the record for a single-artist auction at Sotheby’s selling for an amazing £111 million.


For media enquiries please contact:
Roger Boyde, leisure media relations officer,
Tel 0113 247 5472, email: