From the mini to the mighty, everyone is free to take part in the 100-day Yorkshire Festival - and almost everyone seems to be doing so. One event which seems to sum up the best of Yorkshire, perhaps, best of all is a new art exhibition at Mercer Art Gallery, reports GRAHAM CHALMERS
If this summer’s arrival of the Tour de France is Yorkshire’s Olympics, then the launch of the Yorkshire Festival today surely amounts to its cultural olympiad.
The Harrogate district is being well represented in this massive 100-day jamboree of music, dance, theatre, film, art, sculpture and more.
From a whole host of fringe events by local groups to major events at Harrogate Theatre supported officially to the Grand Départ organisers, Welcome to Yorkshire, the most significant event of all, perhaps, is taking place at Mercer Art Gallery.
Art and Yorkshire: From Turner To Hockney, which will run from April 12 to October 12, has the capacity to capture the essence of The Yorkshire Festival.
Under the stewardship of the gallery’s curator Jane Sellars, more than 100 artworks will be on show at the Mercer.
The star of this major exhibition is sure to be David Hockney whose work is well represented in its many eras and many styles.
It’s taken a lot of work to get to this point with Sellars locked on phone to the LA office of David Hockney on a regular basis.
It’s also set to be the Mercer Gallery’s biggest hit since its Atkinson Grimshaw blockbuster in 2011.
Jane said: “It’s hugely ambitious exhibition for a gallery of our size. Yorkshire has produced some of the finest artists the world had ever seen and we’re trying to celebrate them all.”
Although a highly personal selection by Sellars, the end result seems set to do more than tick all the right boxes.
It’s purely Yorkshire in tone but looking outwards to the world rather than thinking in parochial terms.
It represent not only Yorkshire-born artists of the past 200 years but the county itself, its landscapes, its towns and its people.
But it does so by showcasing artists who do not hail from God’s own county such as JMW Turner and John Piper, as well as the ones born here such as Hockney, Hepworth, Moore and co.
This approach explains partly the continuing success of Sellars’ tenure at the Mercer which has seen a gently modernist hue added to the gallery without losing touch with its more traditional, fine art roots.
Long may it continue.
Art and Yorkshire: From Turner To Hockney runs at Mercer Art Gallery, 31 Swan Road, Harrogate from April 12-October 12.
For more information, visit www.festival.yorkshire.com or www.harrogate.gov.uk