Artists Commissioned for a new Art Hostel on Mabgate, Leeds

The Art Hostel will open its doors in April 2021.

Rhian Aitken, Manager

Rhian Aitken, Art Hostel manager stands outside the new Art Hostel in Mabgate.

Jon Wakeman and Karen Watson of East Street Arts always dreamt of owning their own Art Hostel, inspired by the accommodation they encountered on their travels, they saw a great opportunity to build an affordable yet inspiring place to stay in Leeds.

The Art Hostel initially opened its doors in May 2016, on Leeds’ oldest street, Kirkgate. The Art Hostel hosted ten thousand people worldwide, visiting Leeds, until it had to close its doors prematurely in January 2019.

East Street Arts have purchased New York Studios in Mabgate and are now transforming the building into a brand new, bigger and better Art Hostel for the city.

The Art Hostel will open in its new location in April 2021, with 60 beds spread across 12 rooms. The rooms will be vibrant, fun, and comfortable and East Street Arts have again commissioned artists to design each space, offering an insight into a different artist’s mind and artistic practice. New commissions for 2021 include a room focused on 1980’s alternative culture, a sensory safe space, a room inspired by local East African communities and another inspired by Folklore.

Art Hostel manager Rhian Aitken said: “In these uncertain times it is great for us to offer the people of Leeds, and travellers from overseas something to look forward to!”

Following a recent call-out for artist commissions, the Art Hostel team were overwhelmed with applications from local Leeds artists and others from further afield.

The artists commissioned for the 2021 Art Hostel are:

  • Akeelah Bertram & Julian McIntosh
  • Alison Smith
  • Andrew Small
  • Bernd Trasberger
  • Caraboo
  • Edwin Li, Sarah Li & Lady Kitt
  • Emma Bentley Fox
  • Jesse Wright
  • Jonathan Lang
  • Kadija de Paula & Chico Togni
  • Kevin Chege
  • Louise McKenzie
  • Mandy Barker
  • Mary & Jiem of Wanderlust Social Club
  • Matilda Njau
  • Mo Barrangi
  • Precious Collective
  • Sayang Sound
  • Thompson Brand Partners
  • YOKE

East Street Arts would like to thank their Art Hostel sponsors:

  • Gill Crawshaw & Mick Ward
  • Unlimited
  • Thompson Brand Partners
  • Yorkshire Property Charitable Trust
  • Kinrise
  • Leeds Dock
  • Hammerson Ltd

Additionally the team extends their thanks to Dobson Construction and Richard Boothroyd & Associates for going above and beyond and ensuring that the new Art Hostel came to fruition.

The Art Hostel, although only open for just over two years, created a fan base of travellers and volunteers from around the world from locations such as Italy, Argentina and Australia.

Francesco, a volunteer from Italy was so enamoured with the Art Hostel in its previous location of Kirkgate he commented: “It doesn’t matter who you are, and where you come from…you’ll always be able to find a place where you feel at home, surrounded by beautiful people. That place is the Art Hostel!”

After a thriving couple of years at their temporary home of Kirkgate, the Art Hostel team are extremely excited to be making the move across the city to their new permanent space in Mabgate, where big transformations are currently happening to the former Presbytery building. The Art Hostel staff can’t wait to welcome you in April 2021!

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