A York councillor is refusing to step foot into the renovated York Art Gallery in protest at plans to charge residents an entry fee when it reopens.
All City of York Council members were offered a free preview of the newly renovated gallery on Tuesday (July 28). But the Green Party’s Dave Taylor has shunned the tour.
York Museums Trust has asked the council to remove the clause in its management contract that ensures York citizens have free access to the city’s art treasures.
This will be discussed by the learning and scrutiny committee on Wednesday (July 29) at 5.30pm. An hour later executive member Councillor Ayre will decide whether to allow the trust to impose a fee.
Cllr Taylor, who chairs the learning and scrutiny committee, says:
Art should be for everyone, not just for the elite, and the city needs to take a step back from this decision and work out how to increase public access rather than reduce visitor numbers to a handful of wealthy tourists and the well-off in society.
People’s art gallery
York Art Gallery is due to re-open to the public on Saturday (August 1) but protesters are organise a pop-up York Free Art Gallery from 11am in Exhibition Square.
People will be able to express their own creativity through their own art works, to be added to the open exhibition.
Organisers say they want to “develop an active community around the art gallery linking the city’s collections with all the public of York as creators of York’s art, culture, history and heritage.”
As for the gallery Cllr Taylor will be staying away for the foreseeable future.
I shall join them in an ‘Art Strike’ until we can sort this out.
He said people are welcome to register to speak at the meetings at West Offices on Wednesday evening: “Please come and make your views known.”
Hundreds of petition signatures
An online petition calling for the art gallery to remain free had garnered nearly 650 signatures by Tuesday, July 28.
More than 200 people had added their comments to the site. Here are a few.
Charging entrance will put a stop to visits by poorer individuals and families. That defeats the object of public galleries.
– Robert Camp, York
– Ollie, Scarborough
– Ian Weston, UK
– Rebecca Tallerman, Hull
– Jo Walton, Middlesbrough