The Packhorse Gallery is an innovative creative arts project run by Support to Recovery, a Kirklees mental health charity.
The Gallery first opened its doors to the public in late June 2012, initially based in a shop unit in the downstairs area of the Packhorse Shopping Centre, Huddersfield. However, we had big plans for expanding the scope of the Gallery. The project had already secured funding from Kirklees Community Partnerships and SWYMHT Creative Minds, with a view to creating a creativity destination and encouraging open conversations about mental health and reducing the surrounding stigma. After negotiations with New River Retail, the owners of the Packhorse Shopping Centre, about the upstairs area that had previously been a gym and the hard work of so many people, we transformed an unused space into our creative vision. In November 2012, the new Gallery upstairs in the Packhorse Shopping Centre was officially opened with a celebration event that also marked the first birthday of Creative Minds.
The new venue for the Gallery means that we now have so much more space to hang stunning local artwork and are able to provide a range of events, workshops and community exhibitions. We work in partnership with other agencies and stage events in conjunction with larger events such as The Festival of Light and Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival. As with all good things the word has spread and we continue to attract new visitors to the Gallery. Our membership has also grown and the work we exhibit is increasingly diverse. There really is something for everyone at the Packhorse Gallery. Importantly, we continue to promote positive mental health through the arts and creativity, and aim to reduce the stigma surrounding mental health through open conversations.