The last 24 hours has seen a 2nd visit to York by a PCS member taking part in what has become all-out strike action at London’s National Gallery. As well as strike fund collections, there were two media calls outside York Art Gallery and a public meeting to discuss austerity’s effects on arts. The meeting showed that there are strong similarities despite the differences in the two campaigns, and the risk of art becoming entirely sealed off for the benefit of economic and cultural elites, or compromised by reliance on big business sponsorship.
Two weeks ago, we were outside York Art Gallery, creating a free gallery and demanding our right (as specified in the lease) to free gallery access for residents. Now there’s a plan afoot to hold ‘the consultation York Museum’s Trust forgot’.
On Tuesday 18th August, from 5.30 to 7.30pm at Priory Street Centre, we’ll be offering you the chance to air your views on how our gallery is run, and what purpose it serves. If enough people show up, we can show YMT and the council that our voices must be heard in this process. Register a free place here.
A crowd gathered outside York Art Gallery on Wednesday, 1st July, to mark one month until entry charges are introduced, and to welcome a striker from the National Gallery. PCS members at the gallery in London want to prevent privatisation of their jobs. The strike, now in its 45th day, has already secured a living wage for all staff. A brilliant £350 was raised for strike funds during the visit.
Meanwhile, York has seen a string of Arts issues in recent months. The new Council leadership have cancelled funding for the Guildhall digital media centre and the grass-roots Arts Barge project. Add to this the decision to charge up to £7.50 for visits to the local art gallery, and it’s clear that arts are being restricted to the most well-off.