If there was one word to characterise the South Yorkshire city of Sheffield, it would have to be regeneration. Born from it's industrial roots of steel production during the nineteenth-century, it is the twenty-first century that reflects the area's bygone industry through a series of municipal projects that have welcomed contemporary architecture and redevelopment around the city centre. The Heart of the City Project that includes the Millennium Galleries and Winter Gardens is only one example of the aesthetic restructuring that has taken place which has subsequently attracted a vibrant artist community and the second largest in the UK outside of London.
Art Sheffield's gallery guide is a great resource to explore both independent and institutional spaces as well as circumnavigating Sheffield's central attractions by foot. South East of the city centre lies the old factories and warehouse which have since been transformed into art and design centres or artist studios such as at Bloc Space, which houses Bloc Projects on Eyre Lane. Find international contemporary art at Site Gallery on Brown Street and graphic styles at printing studio-cum-gallery The Archipelago Works on Sidney Street.
North of the centre resides the newly located S1 Artspace which celebrates fifteen years as an artist led space in the North of England. As well as offering artist studio spaces, S1 offers a varied programme of residencies, talks and workshops which will no doubt thrive even greater than before at their Trafalgar Court premises.
Currently on show is, People and Events will be the Decoration, by installation artist Eva Berendes. Painting and sculpture possessed a craft-like quality that eluded to a theatrical stage set.
Installed within the gallery's industrial space with high ceiling and mezzanine floor, the works successfully created drama in contrast to their minimal production. Plinths and screens played on themes of display and superficiality, in the foreground of the large silk backdrop that embodied the decorative narrative of the exhibition.
Follow Wellington Street towards the impressive Town Hall dating back to 1897 and built from the dark and earthy tones of Derbyshire 'Stoke stone' that is synonymous with the Yorkshire landscape. Make your way through the equally impressive Winter Garden that opened in 2003 - linking Millennium Square to Sheffield's theatre district, including the Crucible Theatre (which also plays home to the World Snooker Championship - amongst the exotic plants and trees that span the seventy-metre-long walkway, lies the Millennium Gallery.
With neighbouring Graves Gallery, these are the most traditional offerings on the route, hosting national touring exhibitions and fine art collections. Czech artist, Kateřina Šedá is exhibiting her Líšeň Profile, a commission by Museums Sheffield, which incorporates five-hundred drawings on paper by Czech individuals that reflect the physical profile with topological portraiture from her home town of Líšeň.
Community, memory and collective identity were themes expressed in this uniquely installed show and the idea of community was one I also took back with me of the city of Sheffield. There is a strong sense of the artist community from warehouse to project space that felt free from commercial pressure and therefore high in creative freedom. While street art has manifested itself as a result of abandoned buildings, it was refreshing to hear and even meet people who walk around the city spotting new works - with the addition of my own work now on the streets, I hope with future planned regeneration, Sheffield will continue to provide platforms for the creative community across its urban landscape.