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  • Writer's picturePaul Andrews

Opening Up Calderdale’s Distinctive Art

More people will be able to see Smith Art Gallery’s distinctive art collection, thanks to a new digital guide.

Calderdale Council has recently launched the free guide on Bloomberg Connects, the free arts and culture app created by Bloomberg Philanthropies.

The app is available to download from Google Play or the App Store, making Smith Art Gallery accessible for people who are unable to visit in person. It can also be used to enrich onsite visits through insights into the current displays and exhibitions, alongside highlights from the extensive art collection that is not currently on public display.

Smith Art Gallery in Brighouse is currently displaying highlights from the Smith Collection. Alderman William Smith (1839-1922), Mayor of Brighouse from 1893-1895 and 1904-1907, and his wife Susannah (1838-1916) began collecting paintings in the 1870s from exhibitions around the UK. These paintings were representative of the time, and the couple bequeathed their collection, together with the Smith Art Gallery, to the people of Brighouse in 1907.

The Smith Collection mainly comprises landscapes and portraits, but there are also some scenes from stories and religious iconography. You may be able to spot some notable figures and places represented in the paintings on display, such as Queen Elizabeth I, Hampton Court and Greenwich Hospital, London.

The Council’s museums staff have also selected an artwork not on public display that they would like to highlight, in a demonstration of how the Bloomberg Connects app provides a deeper level of audience engagement with the Smith Art Gallery collection, both on and off-site.

Cllr Jenny Lynn, Calderdale Council’s Cabinet Member for Public Services and Communities, said: “We are delighted to have joined more than 200 cultural organisations around the world on the Bloomberg Connects app. Bringing Calderdale’s distinctive art and culture to more people is a key part of CultureDale and our Year of Culture in 2024."

“The free digital app is a great addition to our museums service, helping people to enjoy Smith Art Gallery’s collections even if they can’t visit in person, and giving people on-site a greater understanding of the artworks. This is part of our priority to reduce inequalities.”

Smith Art Gallery is also hosting the Calderdale Open Art exhibition, which showcases the winning entries from the Council’s recent Open Art competition for professional and amateur artists.

The Mayor of Calderdale, Cllr Ashley Evans, officially opened the exhibition at a special ceremony for participating artists, their families and local dignitaries.

The 87 works on display were selected from over 200 entered into the competition by more than 100 people from Calderdale and beyond.

To mark Calderdale’s Year of Culture in 2024, the theme of this year’s competition was the borough’s landscape, people, history and heritage. Entries included paintings, photographs, digital art and textiles, and subjects ranged from Stoodley Pike to Anne Lister.

The winner was William Morrison for his atmospheric oil painting, ‘Ovenden Moor, Halifax’. Catherine Hill was in second place with ‘Giant Cauliflower Harvest’ and third place went to Geraldine Smith with ‘Lumb Stone, Cragg Vale Coiners Walk’.

The exhibition is on display at Smith Art Gallery until Tuesday 9 April 2024.

Many of the works are available to buy, and visitors to Smith Art Gallery can also vote for their favourite artwork, which will be awarded the People’s Prize at the end of the exhibition.

Find out more about CultureDale and the Year of Culture 2024 here


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