The Hours, 1882 by Sir Edward Burne-Jones © Sheffield Museums


Welcome to Sheffield Visual Arts Group


Sheffield Visual Arts Group campaigns to promote and celebrate Sheffield’s outstanding visual arts at a regional and national level.
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.  We want to improve access to this  vibrant collection. 


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.



The UK’s fourth largest city should:


  • Demonstrate that the arts are central to our cultural and economic wellbeing, not a dispensable recreational activity.
  • Show a clear commitment to finding new resources.
  • Set out ambitious, credible plans for developing Sheffield's art provision in the future.
  • Make available much more of the city's visual art collection.
  • Invest in the staff of Museums Sheffield, whose expertise will be crucial in meeting these objectives.

Our Standpoint

Even during the present long period of public spending cuts, the city must not stand still.  There is substantial evidence of the economic, health, well-being and cultural benefits that flow from promoting a city’s visual and cultural heritage, as evidenced by the huge success of the Yorkshire Sculpture Triangle.


However, we believe the role of the arts in the life of the city goes far beyond this.  Sheffield has always been about inventing, creating, making and doing, a reputation forged in the past and continued in the present.  Even during the political and economic struggles of the 1980s, the council still managed to support the growing cultural industries, using its buildings to provide homes for musicians, film makers and others and promoting new career paths for the city’s residents.


We believe this same awareness and commitment should inform Sheffield’s approach during the present economic crisis to invest in the creative talents of its citizens and in its visual art collections.  The ground breaking and internationally renowned work of Museums Sheffield, a beacon to imagination in the face of dire economic constraints, exemplifies this approach.


Planning for the Future

Today, Sheffield’s art sector is expanding, with a diversity of thriving art practices across the city, together with the infrastructure of exhibition and studio spaces, both new - such as the Art House and Kelham Island Arts Collective - and more established, such as the refurbished, internationally renowned contemporary artspace Site Gallery, the Cupola Gallery, Persistence Works, Exchange Place and S1.


Creative endeavour is not self-sustaining.  It involves active engagement with the past; a dialogue that moves backwards and forwards in time across the generations.  This is why it is vital that access to Sheffield’s historical collections should be expanded.  The Visual Arts Group came together originally when the existence of the Graves Art Gallery was threatened.  Finding long-term solutions for the protection and accessible display of Sheffield’s major art collections is inseparable from support for a wide range of contemporary art practices; both are fundamental to the future life of the City. Together we should be developing networks of interested parties, practitioners, communities etc. in order to be as inclusive as possible in our planning.  Public engagement is vital.


We know these are challenging times and the city is continually faced with hard decisions regarding its priorities.  However we believe this is also the moment to set out ambitious and realisable plans for a future Sheffield cultural centre for the arts.

Sheffield Visual Arts Group Objectives:

  • To promote the city's outstanding collection of paintings, drawings and sculpture.
  • To improve access to the city's collections and to expand these collections.
  • To develop, with others, a long-term strategy for the arts relevant to all the citizens of Sheffield.
  • To acknowledge, encourage and champion the huge diversity of contemporary visual art in Sheffield.
  • To maintain links with organisations with similar interests and objectives to the above.

Black Lives Matter:  Our Commitment

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


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