The New Light Collection – getting the best of Northern art out of the gallery and into the community

21 October 2021

An art collection which aims to get the very best of contemporary art out of the gallery and into the community has been launched by New Light, a charity supporting artists throughout the North of England.

The New Light Collection is available for loan to schools, hospitals, prisons and other public bodies and charities across the region.

New Light was established in 2010 to celebrate and promote Northern art, supporting both well-known and emerging artists. It also includes the biennial New Light Prize Exhibition, fast becoming one of the UK’s largest and most talked about open exhibitions, and New Light ‘Art for All’, an education programme which includes talks, workshops and school projects.

The Collection was launched on 19 October 2021 at a prestigious event at Grantley Hall near Ripon, whose owner Valeria Sykes is patron of New Light and has generously supported the organisation from the start.

New Light chair Annette Petchey said:

Using arts participation as a therapeutic tool is not a new idea. However, national recognition of the importance of ‘wellbeing’, particularly in the wake of the Covid pandemic, has created a re-focus and highlighted the important role that museums and galleries can have in encouraging individuals to become more socially engaged. New Light aims to take this one step further, taking the best of Northern art out of the gallery and directly into the heart of the community to encourage sensory, emotional and intellectual engagement.

With a firm belief that access to the visual arts enhances the environment and improves health and wellbeing, the New Light Collection will enable public bodies and charities to borrow the best in contemporary Northern Art free of charge (with costs borne through sponsorship), giving everyone the chance to experience the region’s wealth of artistic talent at first hand.

Victor Wood, co-founder of personal investment managers McInroy and Wood, which sponsored the launch of the Collection, said:

What particularly appealed to us was the opportunity to recognise the contribution artists make to lifting the human spirit, never more pertinent than now. We have long recognised the power of the arts to elevate minds and to express creativity. The work of creative and performance artists deserves to be much better understood and re-valued accordingly: New Light serves exactly that need.

The collection has been curated over ten years, through acquisition, bequest and donation. Many of the artworks in the Collection have been generously donated by previous entrants to the New Light Prize. Winner of the Valeria Sykes Award from the current New Light Prize Exhibition, Sheffield-based artist Joanna Whittle, has donated her oil on canvas, Leaf Black Arch.

Joanna Whittle said:

It was such an honour to be chosen for the Valeria Sykes Award alongside so many other strong northern artists with such beautiful work. It has been invaluable to my practice in such difficult times and has enabled me to focus on developing ideas and making new work which has created a wealth of new opportunities and connections. It is a privilege to donate a piece to a collection which enables charities, schools and others to benefit from the feeling of wellbeing that contemporary art can bring.

Paintings from the New Light Collection are available to borrow free of charge,

although New Light cannot cover transportation, hanging or insurance costs. It is hoped that costs will be borne through sponsorship.

New Light is currently looking for sponsors to partner with them on the next stage of the journey. If you or your organisation would like to be involved in sponsoring the New Light Collection please do get in touch.

For more information and to view the Collection, please visit

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