A cutting-edge new gallery hopes to tap into the city’s blossoming alternative and DIY art scene.
Fuse Art Space, which opens on Friday, will showcase visual art as well as experimental music and sound art, and hopes to champion local creativity in particular.
The gallery, in Rawson Place, Bradford, has been given a £65,000 Arts Council England grant for its first two years.
The team behind the gallery started off running an internet-based record label called Bombshop in London, but say they were drawn to Bradford because they noticed a growing buzz about the city’s cultural life, especially its DIY art and zine (homemade magazine) scene.
Co-director James Birchall said: “We moved up to West Yorkshire just over a year ago and started hearing about all these bits and bobs going on in Bradford. Things like Bradford Baked Zines and the Loosely Bound Zine Collective, all these DIY arts things that kept popping up on blogs and Twitter.
“Everywhere we looked, we started to see a Bradford collective appearing. That interested us initially, and we realised there is this bubbling underground in Bradford with some incredible stuff going on.”
The gallery’s first exhibition will be the 2013 Portrait Salon photography show, its UK debut. Each year, the show carries on the artistic tradition of ‘Salon des Refuses’ – to champion work rejected from major art shows – and exhibits pieces turned down from the National Portrait Gallery Photographic Portrait Prize.
Mr Birchall said: “It operates on the principle that because so much work is rejected, there must be some fantastic work in there, which there is.”
But he said Fuse’s main focus over the coming years would be on promoting local up-and-coming talent.
He said: “That’s certainly our focus, to look at emerging artists. The thing that excites us most is discovering fresh talent, people doing interesting new things, and trying to put some support behind them.”
Swedish experimental composer BJ Nilsen is performing at a grand opening event on Friday from 7pm, and from then on, the gallery will be open Wednesdays to Saturdays, 11am to 6pm. Entry will be free.
Councillor Susan Hinchcliffe, Bradford Council’s executive member for culture, said she was excited to see how the project developed.
She said: “It just shows that there are some great people in Bradford doing some fantastic stuff in the arts, and it’s now starting to attract people from other cities.”