Last year we told you all about the very first Kirkstall Art Trail, where venues all around the town displayed art for everyone to discover. Well this year it was back, and it was bigger and better than ever – and we played host to one of the exhibitions!

Here’s our take on our experience as a venue (which we can’t recommend highly enough) and why we reckon everyone should get involved.

Basically, having enjoyed doing the trail so much last year, we decided that we’d like to try and host part of the trail at our HQ in Kirkstall this year. We got in touch, having no particular preference of artist, and waited to be paired up with someone whose work we could exhibit.

We got super lucky and were asked to host Elizabeth de Boise. She specialises in beautiful pet portraiture and her prices start at just £15, and we met with her a few weeks before the trail began. I think the committee paired us with Elizabeth because of our semi-famous pug ladyboss, Bridget, who you may have seen plenty of times on our social media channels.

Elizabeth was super lovely and very understanding when it came to exhibiting work. She thought about the fact that we didn’t have tons of wall space, and we agreed to clear as much furniture as we could in our living room before the big event.

We also asked if we could display a small collection (six pieces) of work by my grandfather, David Mapplebeck. He sadly passed away in 2014, but we felt this would be an awesome opportunity to exhibit some of his work across the decades – and the chair at KAT agreed. So we decided our staircase area would be enough space for this relatively small collection.

In the meantime, the KAT volunteers somehow managed to pull together 80 other artists and 28 other venues and put them into a lovely map for anyone to pick up for free.

Then the day of the trail arrived!

As we were quite limited for space in our tiny terraced venue, we agreed with Elizabeth that if she wanted to try some live art (!) we would erect a gazebo outside the house so that she had shelter (either from rain or sun) and so that people following the trail could easily see we were an official venue (we’re quite a way down the street so we wanted to make sure people didn’t miss us!)

We managed to put up the gazebo in about 15 minutes, and the KAT team had given us a pack with bunting and balloons so that anyone on the trail could spot the bright yellow theme and know they were in the right place.

We opened at 10am, and from then on in the visitors never stopped coming! With almost 250 guests over Saturdya and Sunday, we were surprised to meet new neighbours, old friends and attract visitors from as far away as Sheffield throughout the course of the weekend.

See our tweets from the day below so you can get a feel of what we got upto…




AND, perhaps best of all, Elizabeth chose to do a live portrait of Bridget as a thank you for hosting her over the weekend. Just look at the likeness!



If you’re interested in taking part in Kirkstall Art Trail, why not get in touch with them? Whether you’re a local artist or considering being a venue, it really is as simple as we say it is! And we hope to see many, many more visitors next year…