Leeds Corn Exchange Staircases – Winning Artist Announced.

July 3, 2024

As part of our continuing work to look after Leeds Corn Exchange, we like to ensure the space feels uplifting and inspiring. Every few years we enjoy commissioning an artist to showcase their work on the staircase panels. Recently we put a public call out for artists to submit their designs. The selection panel included Kirsty Young, assistant curator at Leeds Museums and Galleries, Simon Rix, Bassist for the Kaiser Chiefs and co-founder of Hyde Park Art Club, Courtney Spencer, Australian curator and artist and Georgina Maud, Head of Arts and development for Rushbond.

There were 65 submissions in total with some incredible designs. The winner, Cat Barrett, was selected for her ability to create a beautiful scene of nature which carefully considered the interior architecture of Leeds Corn Exchange. Cat is a watercolour artist based in Ilkley. She trained in Fine Art at Batley College of Art and Design and her work is inspired by landscape and wildlife. With an aviary adjoining her studio, she is also captivated by birds and her watercolours have a whimsical magical quality, evocative of the West Yorkshire surrounding landscapes. The work will be installed Summer 2024.

With a graphics design background as well as a talented watercolourist, Cat’s work was selected for its ability to appear ‘hand created’ whilst being printed on large scale digitally. So the human and the digital come together to create a beautiful natural scene.

Cat’s work bears a relationship to that of Graeme Willson’s, who created the mural Cornucopia next to Leeds Corn Exchange. Both artists lived and worked in Ilkley and the magic of West Yorkshire’s natural surroundings clearly influence them. It is interesting that both have been drawn to Leeds Corn Exchange, what it represents and the communities that make it a magical place to be.

For more info on Cat: https://catbarrett.co.uk/pages/about-me