I worked in tourism marketing for over 4 years and spent alot of time trying to get locals into their attraction/museum – constantly bemoaning the fact that people ignore what is on their doorstep. So I always make an effort to make the most of what the local area has to offer and Bradford is pretty rich in days out and museums and galleries.
From the jewel in the crown of the National Media Museum to the Bradford 1/Impressions Gallery in Centenary Square, the delights of World Heritage village Saltaire and the fantabulous Bradford Industrial Museum, there is actually more than you would think in this area.
This weekend we headed to Lister Park to visit Cartwright Hall and our reasons were twofold… One because I had never been and two because they host civil ceremonies and are on our possible hitlist for a venue for our wedding.
Cartwright Hall sits in the middle of the lovely green Lister Park, named after Samuel Cunliffe Lister who donated it to the city . Lister Park was the location for my triumphant 27 minute 5K a few years ago as part of Race For Life. Today I took a more leisurely pace as we headed through the gardens and past a fantastic and random stag sculpture.
Inside Cartwright Hall we found a much bigger art space than we had anticipated and right in front of us was David Hockney’s Bigger Trees Near Warter was located. This is reputedly the largest painting David Hockney has ever created. I am not a huge Hockney fan, but standing right in the middle with the huge expanse of trees either side of me was quite enjoyable… I prefered however the side gallery “Other Trees” which complemented the exhibition – with a fantastic tree in the centre of it.
In 2008 Cartwright Hall opened the upper galleries with Connect. This is a permanent exhibition with a really eclectic mix of pieces, from Hockney’s colourful large work to indian textiles, Damien Hirst, Lowry and Bollywood posters. I loved it… something new met every step and the video footage of visitors talking about their experiences was great. There was lots of activity for younger visitors as well. Downstairs was a temporary exhbition by Unnatural Selection by Chen Hangfeng which was fascinating; my favourite piece being a multimedia installation of talking vegetables from China… sounds weird but was… actually… yes pretty weird!
Bradford Museums and Galleries have impressed me so far – so will have to try and get to the rest during 2012