Bassin du Jas de Bouffan, c.1874 by Paul Cezanne.  

© Sheffield Museums

A Corner of the Artist's Room in Paris, 1907-1909 by Gwen John.

 © Sheffield Museums

Mount Etna from Taormina, Sicily, c.1870 by John Brett

© Sheffield Museums


to the website of the Sheffield Visual Arts Group, a campaigning group to promote and celebrate Sheffield’s outstanding contribution to the regional and national artscene.


The City of Sheffield owns an internationally recognised collection of 20th-century paintings and works on paper, as well as a huge array of other treasures, some on show in the Graves Gallery.  We want to promote access to this collection.  As well as the Graves, across the city there are thriving art galleries and studios reflecting Sheffield’s huge wealth of creative talent.


Our group wants the economic and cultural importance of Sheffield’s extraordinary art to be reflected in local and national policymaking.  And ultimately for Sheffield to have the pioneering cultural centre for the arts which it deserves.

Sheffield Visual Arts Group and

Sheffield’s Cultural Strategy

Sheffield Visual Arts Group (SVAG) welcomes the city’s public consultation on a cultural strategy and having the opportunity to contribute. Ideally, we would like to see the following in any strategy adopted.

N.B.We have added examples of what SVAG has been working on to illustrate our group's activties in raising awareness of the significance of the visual arts.

Vision, aligned locally, regionally and nationally.
SVAG would like a coherent, joined up, ambitious yet realistic strategy to be adopted. SVAG has always pushed for a city arts and culture strategy which would afford a sense of direction for future developments. We recognise culture and the arts can attract inward investment and tourism and feel that  new initiatives should fit alongside existing city, regional and national planned projects and strategies.

Ideally we would like a cultural hub/arts centre to be the physical embodiment of the strategy. This would additionally maximise use of a large art archive the contents of which are currently not sufficiently seen.

Attention to civic pride and local identity.
Any strategy should be rooted in what Sheffielders value and want to celebrate - in what makes the city special and differentiates it from other cities.

SVAG came into being  in 2011 when there was a danger of the city losing the J. G. Graves building and it has subsequently encouraged wider ownership of cultural heritage through a variety of initiatives e.g. workshops, study days, working with schools and local artists.

We have recently, together with our partner, Wessex Archaeology and using generous local volunteers, recorded and mapped public art works in the city. We have also celebrated the city's ephemeral Street Art . We have organised public art trails and workshops in collaboration with Sheffield Museums and Art Galleries, Wessex Archaeology and enthusiastic members of the public.
Public Participation
SVAG hopes that the Culture Strategy adopted by S.C.C. will be a “People's Strategy” and involve the public at every opportunity. Not just during consultation but in review, evaluation etc.. Participation is crucial to a sense of ownership.
The Culture Strategy needs to be seen alongside equality and transport policies if the issues of access and the participation gap are to be addressed.

Part of SVAG’s aim has been the promotion of arts and culture for all in order to enhance wellbeing, inclusivity, diversity, and community cohesion. We have worked collaboratively with diverse organisations towards this end and network with grass roots individuals and groups, for example,  Ignite Imaginations, U3A, Sheffield Printmakers, J.U.H.S. and Family Choice.
We have begun to raise public awareness of SVAG and its work in relation to a culture strategy through talks to local community groups, our online newsletters and general networking.

Recognising that arts and culture funding is but one claim on stretched council budgets, SVAG continues to engage with and support SCC through meetings with officers and councillors and the CEO of Sheffield Museums and Galleries. 
Future Planning
SVAG would like to see a Culture Strategy which realistically looks forward, enabling a positive, vibrant environment for practitioners and public alike. The resource implications of future projects should be clear and transparent.The proposed Culture Strategy should be seen in conjunction with the Heritage Strategy, Transport, Equality and other strategies and form part of a unified, holistic and visionary approach to the future development of Sheffield.


As a group we are particularly interested in: the use and development of publicly owned space and buildings; the commissioning of new work; ticketing policies and  improving access to more, affordable, performance and exhibition space. The future of the Graves Gallery building is a major concern and we welcome the planned feasibility study, the results of which should be shared with the public.


SVAG hopes that its collaborative work with Wessex Archaeology and other agencies will continue and that future study days will help to keep alive the debate around all these issues.


SVAG looks forward to the evolution of a new culture of collaboration and transparency in this sector  in Sheffield where all stakeholders feel valued and included in strategy development and implementation.


           Black Lives Matter:  Our Commitment

Read Our Aims to see why we set up our group, and what we do.  

See What we are up to currently

See what the City is up to

Keeping An Eye on The Wider Context

Have a look at our Monthly Art Musings for some personal takes on art

around Sheffield and beyond.

Past Musings, Study Days and Consultations

Visit our Gallery to see artworks we’ve enjoyed around Sheffield and beyond.

If you would like to join us, want to Contact Us, or simply receive our Newsletter, please email  We’d love to hear from you.

                           NEWS FEATURE

                'The Penalty of our Paradox'

THE PENALTY OF OUR PARADOX - is a short black and white film put out by the Site Gallery, Sheffield, for Historic England as part of their Future of the High Street initiative. To the words of an original poem by local poet Otis Mensah, the film explores the high street from the perspective of young people and their experiences in public spaces. It also poses questions at a time when these communal spaces have been hit the hardest and when it is possible for change to be at the centre of our discussion.


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© Sheffield Visual Arts Group