Crossley Gallery in D Mill

Art & Galleries

Dean Clough boasts one of the UK’s largest private galleries and a nationally acclaimed contemporary arts programme. It sustains a score of bursary studios, initiates festivals and performance events, supports several community and arts charities and enables a plethora of courses and educational initiatives…

Gallery Programme

Dean Clough’s gallery shows span the gamut from retrospectives to innovative solo work and incorporate most art forms including painting, photography, sculpture, installations and digital media.

The selection policy is deliberately eclectic. It mixes national figures (eg Michael Sandle, Andy Goldsworthy, Conrad Shawcross) with notable regional names (eg Jack Chesterman, Stuart Dawson, Christopher Wood) alongside both emerging and established artists from around the UK.

Exhibitions are changed approximately every three months, when everyone is welcome to attend the formal openings which are a key event in the regional arts calendar. The What’s On guide gives details of current exhibitions or you can subscribe to receive information here:
https://confirmsubscription.com/h/i/224C4D3541A10D21

Gallery Opening Times

The galleries are open from 10am to 5pm every day (except Christmas and New Year). However, the Crossley Gallery is occasionally closed for private events. If you are travelling specifically to visit an exhibition in the Crossley Gallery please contact reception, or check our social media, beforehand to ensure it is open and thus avoiding disappointment.

The Permanent Collection

The Dean Clough permanent art collection, which is displayed across the half-mile site, numbers over a thousand items. Principally amassed as a way of supporting artists it is no less eclectic than the gallery programme but its sheer range – from David Hockney and Joe Tilson to Tony Earnshaw and Derek Hyatt to Alexander Nozhkin and Judith Shackleton – provides a unique snapshot of northern art practice over the last forty years.

The Studio Programme

Dean Clough’s bursary studio scheme dates back to the late 1980’s and has been widely emulated. Doug Binder, the founding curator of the galleries, remains pre-eminent among the score of resident artists who include nationally renowned illustrators, sculptors, photographers and even a violin bow maker. The studio artists frequently exhibit in the galleries and typically hold two ‘open days’ each year.

The inception of The Arts Charity at Dean Clough (ACDC) in 2018 to manage the arts programme at Dean Clough has seen a new studio and teaching facility established at Fletchers Mill. Still more exciting are nascent plans for the enormous, post-industrial ‘Jute Shed’ which gained national interest in 2019 when it exhibited Conrad Shawcross’ giant rope making machine, ‘Chord’.

The Events Programme

Dean Clough’s performance spaces range from intimate rooms to the 200-seat Crossley Gallery and the renowned, underground Viaduct Theatre. The many restaurant facilities, the Travelodge hotel and the presence of numerous creative organisations (notably Northern Broadsides and IOU) almost inevitably means it has an outstanding 40-year legacy of performance events.

Theatre events have inevitably been spearheaded by the fabulous Northern Broadsides whose boundless creative energy brought names like Sir Antony Caro (set designer for ‘Samson Agonistes’), Ted Hughes (whose play ‘Alcestis’ was premiered here by Barrie Rutter) and Sir Lenny Henry (who starred in Northern Broadside’s ‘Othello’).

The Jazz season included legendary names (Stan Tracey, Stan Getz, Kenny Wheeler) and has continued to support the likes of Norma Winston, ’The Impossible Gentlemen’ and even gave early gigs to current trend setters ‘Gogo Penguin’ (whose pianist, Chris Illingworth, is Halifax born).

The Comedy season saw early performances by now ‘famous’ names such as Katherine Ryan, Joe Lycett and David O’Doherty and has since been developed by ‘The Arches’ at Dean Clough. 60’s legend Freddie ‘Parrot Face’ Davies also came to Dean Clough, but that was part of the film season which, in 2021, transmuted into a series of successful drive-in screenings.

Dean Clough regularly hosts art and craft fairs and esoteric arts conferences but it has also enjoyed significant success with Cosplay and Manga festivals, Computer and Board Game festivals and even an acclaimed Ghost Writing Festival featuring the late Dr. Jonathan Miller.

The Community Programme

Dean Clough’s community programme gave rise to our long-established Life Drawing Room and has seen the recent creation of an Art Library. It has also attracted various arts charities to the site such as Phoenix Radio, Annapurna Indian Dance and the Calderdale Talking Newspaper Association (for the visually impaired). The expertise of the Projected Picture Preservation Trust and its vast collection of vintage cinema projectors is something of a hidden wonder.

Most of our courses and engagements tend to have an arts bias. The monthly Arts Lab brings together regional practitioners who are all-too-easily isolated, the OCA regularly meet in Fletchers Mill, while we host frequent poetry, drama and choral meetings. Graduation shows regularly stud the gallery schedules and we recently joined forces with Calderdale College’s art department to help establish the borough’s first residential BA arts degree course.

But it’s not all about art. Arguably the most successful, regular community event at Dean Clough was the temporarily discontinued Cafe Scientifique; while sign language courses, yoga and tai chi events also occur regularly in our calendar.

The Legacy Programme

Once the largest carpet factory in the world, Dean Clough has of course a historic legacy. Something of this is reflected in the 1:40 scale, Lego brick building which is on permanent display in the galleries, where it is surrounded by vintage photographs. This seriously accurate model was begun in 2009 by Lego purists Michael LeCount and Tony Priestman (… ‘purists’ because no glue or ‘shaving’ is allowed and all the pieces have to be commercially available). It is, not unlike Dean Clough itself, a work in progress…

Another work in progress is ‘The Lost Workers’ exhibit. This was established in 1994 by international artist Christian Boltanski as part of an exhibition organised by the Henry Moore Studio. While it enjoys a post-modern dimension, ‘The Lost Workers’ is simply a collection of artefacts left by (or on behalf of) people who used to work at Crossley Carpets. The 140 items include spectacle cases, photographs, office nameplates and much more… and evoke a nostalgia that is simultaneously personal and museological. The installation is ongoing but presently undergoing renovation.

During its tenure, the Henry Moore Studio (1989–2001) also contributed items to Dean Clough’s significant collection of outdoor, ‘public art’. These are permanently on view and range from Frank Darnley’s landmark, aluminium ‘Ram’ in Crib Lane car park to the easily overlooked but internationally relevant ‘SOME LIMESTONE SOME SANDSTONE ENCLOSED FOR SOME REASON’, which is a lorry weighbridge that was re-cast by the renowned American artist Lawrence Weiner in 1993.

ACDC

The Arts Charity at Dean Clough (ACDC) is the charity which manages the studios and galleries on site. A fuller description of its activities can be found on the website here:

You can subscribe here to receive gallery invitations and listings information. ACDC should also be contacted if you are interested in exhibiting or performing at Dean Clough or if you want to know more about the bursary studio scheme. The executive director of ACDC is Vic Allen who can be contacted at either vic.allen@ac-dc.org.uk or on 01422 255258.