Leeds will soon boast an Art Hostel, a social enterprise decorated by some of the city’s finest artists that will open to the public just in time to house visitors to British Art Show 8.
If your idea of a hostel is a stripped back affair with very little style about it, think again, because Leeds is set to get a new one and it’s going to be as cool as it gets, with each room decorated by a different artists, and a host of events to get folk involved.
The Art Hostel is the brainchild of East Street Arts, an organisation that supports and promotes the city’s artists, and they’ve been planning it for years. Inspired by their travels, and the way other European city’s host their artistic wanderers, it was brought to life over a beer in their local – independent Leeds bar, The Reliance.
Taking up the building that once housed Bird’s Yard at 83 Kirkgate, East Street Arts will bring a long neglected part of the city to life with the support of Bauman Lyons Architects. And though it’s only a pilot project at the moment, they’re hoping that if it’s successful, they’ll be able to turn the Art Hostel into a permanent fixture, helping to attract and house the city’s tourists.
Once open, The Art Hostel will have space for up to 30 people, with a mix of private and dorm rooms. Each room will be decorated in unique style by a local artists. They’ve already got a host of talented creatives lined up – multi-faceted artist Edwin Li is already involved, alongside Precious Art Collective, a collaboration of painters, sculptures and artists who’ve all graduated from Leeds Art College. Add Leeds Weirdo Club, Steve Mantorp, John Slemensek. Christie Hill and Ben Mills into the mix and you’ve got a winning combination that will only get better as more artists come on board.
As well as creating a unique place to stay for the city’s visitors, The Art Hostel will also host events in a dedicated space. They’re already planning to create a community bakery, as well as an alternative tourist guide, creative soup and a speak easy – and that’s just their initial plans, so we could have all kinds of exciting events to looks forward to.
But before all that can happen, they need your help. They have started a crowdfunding campaign to raise funds for the initial set up, including commissioning local artists to make their mark on the unique social enterprise. In return for your contributions, they’ll give you one of a host of gifts, ranging from one-off illustrated shower caps to a portrait of you in the hostel or a one-night stay in the hostel, which will see you and your friends having it all to yourselves – it’s well worth getting involved if you can afford to.
The Art Hostel is coming soon to 83 Kirkgate, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS2 7DJ.