95b Mary Street, S1 4RT Sheffield South Yorkshire
Open Saturday 12-6pm during exhibitions, at other times by appointment. Entry is free.Visit site
Until recently there wasn’t much reason to walk down Mary Street – a slightly tawdry looking side road round the back of Decathlon – despite its exposed cobbles hinting at buried charm. However, its cultural stock rose considerably in 2013 when B&B moved in, a gallery and screen-printing studio run by artists and curators Ed Bradbury and Florence Blanchard.
Having spent several years travelling and exhibiting work themselves, B&B decided to set up shop in Sheffield and invite other artists to work alongside them through exhibitions, limited edition prints and a residency programme. Shows have included their own work, as well that by artists both local – Theo Simpson’s compelling architectural photography, We Live Here’s print series of modernist buildings – and international – like the meticulous work of Parisian illustrator Jan Garet.
"B&B is about bringing our experiences of travelling and our love of art to the people of Sheffield. Independent galleries are in abundance in major cities like New York, but they don’t really exist here, for these kinds of artists," says Florence, who was born in the South of France and lived in New York for some years before settling in Sheffield.
Bradbury & Blanchard aren’t the only ones inspiring cultural rejuvenation in the environs of the ring road. DED Associates moved in just up the road around the same time as B&B, with their ‘post-industrial concept space’ (read gallery, studio and bar) at 99 Mary Street, and Crow & Dunnage screen-printers are across the way in Lenton Street. Ed credits Rupert at APG Works for starting the migration: "He just felt this was the part of the city where things needed to start happening. And we think he’s right."
Who knows, Mary Street could soon be Sheffield’s answer to Williamsburg.