The History

New for 2017, THE FRIENDS OF YORK ART GALLERY, by Sarah Sheils, is the story of a remarkable contribution to the cultural life of the City of York over the past sixty-nine years. A great read at £5.50 RRP from the York Art Gallery shop, or £4.95 on presentation of your membership card. Copies are also available by post for £6.00 each inclusive of packing and delivery by Royal Mail. For postal orders, please make your cheque payable to FYAG, and then send it to Friends of York Art Gallery, exhibions Square, York, YO1 7EW…. do include your name, address and a contact telephone number/email address with your order.

The Art Gallery reopened in 1948 following a period of closure during WW2 when it was requisitioned by the military. The Gallery had sustained bomb damage in 1942, and it would be more than a decade before the vision of the Director, Hans Hess, his team and volunteers, plus the generosity of benefactors created an Art Gallery of some renown.

The reopening coincided with the founding of the York Art Collection Society, renamed The Friends of York Art Gallery in 1955, whose mission was and is today the ‘creating of a lively interest in all artistic matters and establishing a fund from which, from time to time, works of permanent value can be acquired for presentation to the Art Gallery’.

The programme of tours and regular talks started in 1975, with occasional visits to other galleries beginning later in that decade. This programme has increased progressively over the years, in terms of the frequency of events, the breadth of art subjects discussed and geographic destinations. Search EVENTS within this website to learn of the events planned for the rest of 2015.

The Friends have contributed almost £500,000 towards the acquisition, conservation or repair of works of art encompassing ceramics, drawings and paintings on canvas or board, sculpture  and video productions  The website photo gallery highlights many of the works of art that the Friends have helped the Art Gallery Curators to acquire over the years. Behind the scenes contributions are numerous, such as a grant from the Friends has made possible the cataloguing of 17,000 works on paper held in the Art Gallery. The Friends fund the annual sponsorship for an MA student (History of Art) at the University of York, Family Saturdays and lectures by visiting artists, such as the annual Centre of Ceramic Art (CoCA) lecture.