Preston exhibition celebrates new work by more than 20 contemporary artists, including a Turner Prize winner


The entrance to Birley Pic: The Birley

Birley Artist Studios and Project Spaces are relaunched in downtown Preston this month with an exhibit showcasing the work of more than 20 of their resident artists.


After a difficult year of isolation and postponed activities, members of The Birley studio are excited to present to the public new works, which reflect the development and growth of their individual artistic practices. The What We Do exhibit is the first major exhibition of studio members’ work since the organization grew significantly in 2019, more than tripling in size and number of studio members.

The show features the work of studio members Anthony Padgett, Beata Podstawa, Bernie Velvick, Beth Wise, Ella-Marie Thornhill, Faye Spencer, Florian Houlker, Gavin Renshaw, Heather Mullender-Ross, Julie Mayer, Kathryn Poole, Lauren Velvick, Lauretta Rapley, Magda Starwarska-Beavan, Norman Payne, Rebecca Chesney, Rob Mullender-Ross, Roberta Cialfi, Simon Plum, Stephanie Fletcher, Tao Lashley-Burnley and Tracy Hill.

The exhibition also includes new works by 2017 Turner Prize-winning artist and professor of contemporary art at the University of Central Lancashire, Lubaina Himid CBE, who joined the studios in 2019.

Work by Florian Houlker, Rob Mullender-Ross, Magda Stawarska-Beavan, Stephanie Fletcher and Tracy Hill Pic: The Birley

“We are delighted to welcome visitors to our public spaces 18 months after our last in-person event. We’ve been busy behind the scenes, renovating two gallery spaces and setting up a new multipurpose reading room – alongside mobile online workshop activities. This exhibit showcases the breadth of creative practices of over 20 of our studio members, ”said Stephanie Fletcher and Ben Rutherford, directors of The Birley.

The exhibit has already proven to be popular, with launch day tickets sold out before the exhibit begins. The exhibit runs every Friday and Saturday from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. from Friday August 27 to Saturday September 18 and will initially be open by advance reservation, with free tickets available on Eventbrite. The number of visitors will be limited, hand sanitizer is available and the studio asks visitors to wear face coverings, with some exceptions.

For more information, visit The Birley’s website.

To book free tickets, follow this link to Eventbrite.

The Birley is located in downtown Preston, near the corner of Birley Street and Earl Street. The main entrance faces the smaller outdoor covered market.

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