Yvette Hud­dle­ston

Yorkshire Post - Culture & The Guide - - ART -

Well, I can’t pre­tend that I won’t be glad to see the back of 2016 – with­out go­ing into all the dispir­it­ing de­tails, I think we can all agree it’s not been a great year on many dif­fer­ent lev­els.

What is abun­dantly clear is that in amongst all the di­vi­sive polit­cal dis­course, the arts are needed now more than ever as an es­sen­tial an­ti­dote, of­fer­ing a clear-sighted com­men­tary on events as well as pro­vid­ing a fo­rum for bal­anced debate that can lead to pos­i­tive change.

Ear­lier this year Bruce Spring­steen re­marked in an in­ter­view to pro­mote his long-awaited au­to­bi­og­ra­phy: “You can change some­one’s life with the right song... You can bend the course of their de­vel­op­ment...

You can con­tex­tu­alise very, very dif­fi­cult ex­pe­ri­ences. Songs are pretty good at that.” The arts in gen­eral are pretty good at that. For which we must be grate­ful.

Here in York­shire we have so many op­por­tu­ni­ties to ac­cess the arts – there is a huge choice of ex­cel­lent the­atre on of­fer, both cre­ated here in York­shire and vis­it­ing on tour, mu­sic of all kinds in a va­ri­ety of venues large and small and you can see world­class vis­ual art al­most any day of the week in our gal­leries and mu­se­ums, mostly for free.

There have been some great high­lights across the arts in the re­gion this year – for ex­am­ple, we saw the UK’s first ever prize for sculp­ture take place in York­shire cour­tesy of the won­der­ful Hep­worth Wake­field, the York­shire Fes­ti­val gave us a fanatas­tic smor­gas­bord of in­ter­na­tional art events all across the county for three weeks in the sum­mer and we saw the launch of the Brontë 200 bi­cen­te­nary cel­e­bra­tions of the fa­mous lit­er­ary fam­ily, with sev­eral ex­cit­ing cross-art­form events.

It was also good also to see how pop­u­lar the var­i­ous lit­er­a­ture fes­ti­vals in our re­gion were again this year. Not only do they of­fer au­di­ences the op­por­tu­nity to lis­ten to their favourite big­name au­thors, they are also a place for in­formed di­a­logue. Fes­ti­val pro­grammes in­cluded panel dis­c­cu­sions on a va­ri­ety of top­ics and judg­ing by at­ten­dance fig­ures, in our modern world where so much pub­lic dis­cus­sion takes place ‘vir­tu­ally’ there is clearly an ap­petite for real-life debate, in a room with other peo­ple. That can only be a good thing.

There will be no Cul­ture for the next two weeks, but look out for a round-up of the re­gion’s must-see shows over the fes­tive sea­son in next Fri­day’s main pa­per.

We will be back on Jan­uary 6 to con­tinue to cham­pion the arts in York­shire – and we have a lot to shout about. In the mean­time have a won­der­ful Christ­mas and here’s to an arts-filled 2017.

In amongst

all the di­vi­sive po­lit­i­cal dis­course, the arts are needed now more than

ever.

Culture, The York­shire Post, No.1 Leeds, 26 White­hall Road, Leeds LS1 1BE. To ad­ver­tise: Tracey Ball tel 0113 238 8987; [email protected] Ed­i­to­rial: Sarah Free­man tel 0113 238 8952; sarah.free­[email protected]

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