Deadline: 11/10/2019  |  Published: 24/09/2019  |  Venue: New York Street Kirkgate Market entrance  |  City: Leeds  |  Region: West Yorkshire  |  Country: United Kingdom  |  Becci Erbillur-Gray

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Leeds City Council seeks to commission an artist/designer/collaborative team to create and install a public art design at the entrance to Leeds Kirkgate Market on New York Street,.


Leeds Kirkgate Market

Leeds Kirkgate Market is one of the largest indoor markets in Europe and a popular shopping destination, voted as Britain’s favourite market in 2015 and 2016. The iconic Grade I listed building is a landmark feature in Leeds city centre, sited between the Corn Exchange and the Victoria Gate development on Vicar Lane.

A £14 million investment in 2013 saw the interior market halls renovated and delivered the Market Kitchen, a new street food dining area and events space. In addition, a number of artworks add colour and vibrancy to the Markets environment, including:

To better reflect the vibrant atmosphere of the market interior, Leeds City Council is seeking to enhance the exterior appearance of the Markets through a series of public artwork, topiary and lighting. This work will highlight the features of the Victorian building and will deliver high quality public realm around the Markets building.

New York Street Entrance

Sited close to the bus station, the New York Street entrance is a key gateway to the Markets, leading into the new Market Kitchen area. This entrance is a very well-used gateway into the Market and the main entrance during evening events such as the Light Night festival of arts and culture that takes place every year in October.

The current appearance of the entrance way is uninviting, with a corrugated metal wall and gates on either side that are used for rear access to neighbouring shops. Leeds City Council plans to improve the entrance way by removing unnecessary signage, covering the side gates with artificial trellis, and the addition of an overhead lighting feature between the neighbouring buildings above the pedestrian area in front of the entrance way. As part of the improvements we would like to commission an artist to produce a large piece of public art around the entrance as a showpiece feature to turn this currently drab entrance into an inviting and appealing gateway to the Markets. 

Key aims and objectives 

  • To create an attractive and visually striking design/artwork at the entrance point to Kirkgate Market off New York Street. 

  • To add colour and interest to the street scape.

  • To increase visitor numbers to the Market.

  • To provide an opportunity for local artists to display their work in a city centre location.

  • To help to increase the variety and number of public art installations across Leeds city centre

Similar art projects

Key audiences

The key audiences for the new public art are: 

  • Shoppers and the public- New York Street is a gateway to the city for those arriving by bus and the New York Street entrance to the Markets opens into the new Market kitchen and fresh produce area.

  • Light Night visitors- this entrance is one of the main entrance points to the Market during Light Night. A vibrant public artwork above the entrance way will attract Light Night visitors and signal that the Market is an arts and culture destination.

  • Local businesses- Kirkgate Market is home to over 245 traders and there are a host of local businesses in the surrounding area. Neighbouring Kirkgate, Leeds’ oldest street, is set to benefit from up to £2.6million investment through Townscape Heritage Initiative funding to improve shopfronts and the quality of public realm.

  • Young people- the addition of a table tennis area, street food vendors and a programme of events has made the Markets more appealing to young people and schoolchildren. The Markets have hosted numerous child-friendly initiatives throughout the year such as the city wide Jurassic Trail, roller disco, Lego building to arts and crafts.


The key deliverables from this brief are:

To design and deliver a visually striking art piece at the New York Street entrance that will be eye-catching to visitors and passers-by. The design may incorporate the wall around the entrance as well as the ground, and must reflect the character and/or history of the Markets to some degree. The design should take into account the heritage surroundings and dominant colour scheme of the area.

The art work will not require listed building consent, but will require advertising consent which the council will coordinate and fund separately.

The appointed artist(s) will be expected to undertake consultation with key stakeholders, such as stall holders and customers of the Market, as part of the design development.

In the first instance please submit previous examples of similar projects and examples of style and influence you wish to apply to this brief. The submitted information will then be judged and the successful artist(s) will be notified to further develop the design work.

Your submission

By 5pm on Friday 11th October 2019 please submit the following:

  1. Your CV

  2. Examples of your previous, relevant work experiences

  3. Your thoughts on how you would approach the commission with sketch designs if you wish

Your submissions will be judged by a panel around the end of October 2019.

The commission

If you are successful, a budget of £8000 will be provided, with 50% provided upfront and the remaining 50% paid within 30 days of completion of the project. This price includes artist fees for designs, including any equipment required; production and installation costs. A cherry picker will be provided by Leeds City Council for the installation of the work at no cost, and the Council will provide additional project management support.


  • Deadline for initial submissions: 5pm on the 11th October 2019

  • Artists will be notified if they have been successful or not by: early November 2019.

  • Installation: Target for installation is by: January 2020, subject to the necessary consents.

Further information

For further information please contact Becky Court on or 01133784152.


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