Site Gallery reopened its minimalist glass doors for their grand debut on 28 September, featuring exhibitions, food from Peddler Market and live performances, since closing last year for a grand refurbishment. They originally opened their much older (but I’m sure still very sleek) doors in 1978, up in Walkley, nearby John Ruskin’s own museum made for the workers. They shifted down to Brown Street, it’s current location, in 1988 and gained the named Site Gallery in 1996. We managed to head down early to grab a preview of the new and improved Site Gallery.
Site Gallery have consistently prioritised providing space for artists at critical points; those just beginning their journey and those having jumped along nicely but still teetering on the brink of their success. They focus on purveying visual, moving image and performance art, while keeping up with developments in trends and technology to stay relevant with contemporary interests.
The building sits perfectly on Brown Street, opposite Rutland Arms and further west from Showroom Workstation, so it’s extremely accessible by foot or bus. The facade is covered with a variant of red brick organisation that align pleasingly with the large, copper framed feature windows, allowing a glance into their brand new shop, reception and community cafe. Their established logo, which is helpfully featured on each staff’s lanyard, is a crisp white cube with ‘SITE’ in block letters. This font is distributed at a consistent but not overbearing regularity throughout the gallery. The cafe offer a range of coffees, teas, treats and an ‘eclectic menu’ that is on offer all day. It’s run by Kollective, who provide a daily changing menu of six items, produced with local sustainable ingredients and made for one day only.
The staff are a creative hive of welcoming, warm presences, so when you visit do not be hesitant to offer any questions. They opened with the Liquid Crystal Display exhibition curated by Laura Sillars and Angelica Sule, including a Crystal Fabric Field by Anna Banham that links all the pieces together. The exhibition features an exploration of our societies dependance on technical objects that are produced by minerals and liquid crystals. They address our fixation with the end product, and our oblivion towards the journey that produced them. We will feature a follow up on the exhibition so keep an eye out.
Site Gallery is definitely worth checking out, and I for one will certainly be returning for a coffee, to browse the creative literature on offer, or to check out their ever-changing and developing project space. The trebling size in public space development was necessary in order to maintain an income that keeps their shiny glass doors open. Their exhibitions are free to enter. A highly recommended detailed catalogue (that explains each piece and it’s artist) costs £8, which contributes to the galleries necessary income
Mon, Tues, Wed, Fri and Sat 11-6pm