History of art at The Leadmill:
The Leadmill opened its doors in 1980 as a response to the lack of cultural facilities in Sheffield and was set against the backdrop of a political and economic environment characterised by the beginning of ‘Thatcherism’.
As the steelworks closed their doors Sheffield saw a radical decline of youth unemployment and slogans such as ‘no future no hope’ were banded around. This unlikely spark fuelled the fire to convert a derelict flourmill in a rundown part of Sheffield. Part of the building housed the legendary Esquire Club where during the sixties The Who, Jimi Hendrix, The Small Faces and others played on a stage made from two grand pianos with their legs sawn off. Then when a mixture of volunteers, students, artists and unemployed combined forces with a vision of setting up a centre for arts and music for others like them, The Leadmill was formed. These core values have been held within The Leadmills DNA for the past 35 years and will continue to throughout its career.
Henry was one of the first artists to move into The Leadmill’s studio when they opened in 1980 and has kept his studio ever since. He has had exhibitions across the UK, Berlin, Lithuania and Hamburg and won numerous awards for his work.
In 2012 we announced that we would be running a competition for a local arts student to have the opportunity to create a mural inside The Leadmill. We have numerous submissions of ideas and our favourite was Chloe’s who created an impressive design which encapsulated Sheffield and The Leadmill’s musical history. Chloe went on to study Graphic Design at Nottingham Trent University and her mural is on display in The Leadmill’s bar area.
As part of a collaboration with Red Bull we invited Geo Law to create a live art piece during a Red Bull Curates event held in the summer of 2011. The piece is of Geo’s signature style, including records and speakers to give a music theme to the artwork. The large scale piece was created in just a day in front of customers at the Red Bull Curates event and is on display in the main area of The Leadmill.
As part of The Leadmill’s 35th Birthday in May 2015 Pete Fowler was invited to create a mural on the venues iconic large entrance doors. Pete is best known for his work with Super Furry Animals and used his postmodern cartoon style to create characters to represent the vast variety of customers who come through The Leadmill’s doors.
In September Kid Acne came to The Leadmill to create artwork for the entrance way into The Leadmill. His work encapsulates the numerous artists and musicians that have played The Leadmill stage in the past 35 years. It also includes lyrics from songs that customers love to hear on nights out at The Leadmill, which were submitted to us via Twitter.
In May 2016 to celebrate The Leadmill's birthday we invited artist Florence Blanchard to paint a new mural for the year on the iconic venue doors. In May of each year we will be inviting some of our favourite artists to paint a mural on our doors to celebrate The Leadmill's birthday. Keep an eye on our website to see who paints the doors in 2017...