As construction begins on site to transform the iconic former Tetley Brewery headquarters building into The Tetley
, a new contemporary art centre for Leeds, Straight plc has given its full backing to the cultural facility by becoming its first Founding Patron.
Straight plc, a Leeds-based environmental products and services group has made a donation of £5,000 and will be associated with The Tetley brand as a Founding Patron. Straight plcs support kicks off a new drive from the board and directors of The Tetley to attract donations from the private sector, in advance of its opening this autumn.
Jonathan Straight, Chief Executive Straight plc, commented: I was invited to see inside the building before construction began and was struck by its potential to transform the Hunslet Road area of Leeds, which will be completely opened up to pedestrians, and by the vision of the people behind its reinvention.
At Straight, we are committed to investing in our community and I am delighted to support The Tetley. I firmly believe that business is a creative process and, having spent many happy hours in art galleries, that cities thrive when cultural facilities are considered to be an investment, not a cost.
The Tetley will be an important piece in the jigsaw of the city, helping to put Leeds on the map, for investors and for visitors.
Gerald Jennings, a Trustee of The Tetley and Portfolio Director at Land Securities commented: I am thankful that Jonathan could see the potential for the building, even before construction has been completed and that Straight plc has chosen to support The Tetley.
The Tetley will be the third significant new development in Leeds in 2013, following the openings of Trinity Leeds and First Direct Arena. Creating and transforming buildings is one thing, bringing them truly to life takes a different kind of investment.
This is a fantastic year for Leeds and The Tetley offers the corporate sector an original opportunity to support the cultural life of the city for future generations. I hope that many more business leaders will join us in making it happen.
The Tetley is run by arts charity Project Space Leeds [PSL]. Earlier this year PSL was awarded a grant of £225,500 capital funding by Arts Council England to help convert the ground, first and second floors of the building into high-quality showing spaces, learning and community facilities, alongside other refurbishments to event and retail spaces and a cafe/bar. PSL will also look after the Tetley archive and the redevelopment will preserve heritage features such as the original boardroom and war memorials in the building.
Set to open in Autumn 2013, The Tetley will create opportunities for artists based in the city and region to develop and show work that will appeal to a wide range of audiences, and artists will be commissioned to create new work as part of the capital refurbishment.
Work to convert the stunning 1930s building into an inspiring space that is fit for public use began in September 2012, including the refurbishment of the period features and addition of new exterior stairs and a lift. The Tetley is a result of strong relationships and investment from the private sector, specifically Carlsberg UK which owns the building and has supported its retrofit.
Founded in 2006, Project Space Leeds moved last year from its temporary base in an empty office space at Whitehall Waterfront, where it earned industry acclaim for its programme of contemporary art projects, showing work by artists from the UK and abroad, as well as a reputation for being visionary and tenacious.