A SILSDEN arts supporter is calling for work by past artists from the town to be displayed in the community.

Colin Neville was speaking following the award by Arts Council England of national portfolio status to Bradford Museums and Galleries, which will mean the service receives over £380,000 a year between 2023-26.

Mr Neville, curator of the Not Just Hockney website, says: "I was pleased to read that in the first year, the museums service will focus on engaging with local people to trial new ways of working – including mounting exhibitions in community locations to reach people who wouldn’t normally visit traditional arts and culture venues.

"Silsden Town Hall would be a perfect venue to display artworks by past Silsden artists.

"Bradford Museums already has work by Joseph West in its collection, and perhaps it would be possible for paintings by Jack Clarkson – currently at the Potteries and Brampton museums in Staffordshire – to be loaned. The Bassetlaw Museum has artwork by Silsden’s Augustus Spencer, principal of the Royal College of Art for 20 years. Work by other past Silsden artists – such as Doris Schrecker, Stan Boardman, Hildred Harpin and Dorothy Wade – which is in private collections, could also be loaned. I know of people who have paintings by these artists and I'm sure they would be willing to show them."

He suggested that alongside the display, modern-day work by members of Silsden and Keighley art groups could be exhibited.

Mr Neville appreciated that security in a community building might be a potential concern, but he felt any issues could be overcome.

A Bradford Council spokesperson says: "We are delighted about the investment from Arts Council England.

"Colin is right in that artworks will only be loaned to spaces where the owner is satisfied that security and temperature control is suitable, but we’ll be happy to explore this. Naturally celebrating the work of local artists is something we like to support.

"We are in the very early stages of this process and are working on a delivery plan for Arts Council England’s approval, prior to confirmation of the national portfolio award which is expected in February 2023.

"We’ll talk to Silsden Town Hall about its vision to make sure its voice is heard. We want to ensure the widest possible access to our museums’ permanent collections and that’s what the Arts Council wants to see too."