Are you a ‘hidden’ artist?

The evolution of social networks and digital media has had a significant impact on the arts industry, providing new opportunities for creative expression and leading to a substantial increase in the number of self-taught artists. Despite their artistic talent, these ‘hidden’ artists often face numerous obstacles, including a lack of access to art spaces, insufficient support from established art communities, and the belief that only those with formal training can create ‘real’ art. Our new project aims to address these inequalities and provide support to artists in Leeds.

According to recent research, an artist’s success is more likely to be determined by their social connections, rather than their levels of creativity. However, for those without access to support and networks, such as artists from disadvantaged backgrounds, it can be difficult to know how to develop their practice. One of the biggest challenges faced by artists is a lack of access to resources to help them hone their skills and promote their work beyond their social circle. These challenges are compounded for self-taught artists, who may not have had access to the same opportunities as their formally trained peers. 

While many artists struggle to find affordable spaces to create and showcase their work, this can be an insurmountable barrier for self-taught or disadvantaged artists, limiting their opportunities for growth and leading to feelings of frustration if they are unable to develop their career. Without space to share their practice, these ‘hidden’ artists often experience isolation and exclusion from the artistic community. In some cases they may even struggle to recognise themselves as artists.

However, ‘hidden’ artists can make significant contributions to the art world with work that reflects new experiences, perspectives, and ideas, including those of underrepresented communities. Their work can challenge conventional notions of art and broaden the definition of what it means to be an artist, inspiring others to explore new avenues of creativity and serving as role models for others who are looking to develop their own artistic skills. These artists bring fresh perspectives to the arts community and can help to challenge the status quo.

The Highrise Project is committed to supporting all artists and providing them with the tools and opportunities to develop their skills and share their work with a wider audience. As such, we invite ‘hidden’ artists in Leeds to take advantage of our free mentoring, digital skills workshops, and art supplies to improve their craft and connect with others. In July 2023, we will host an exhibition at Archive on Kirkstall Road, giving artists the opportunity to showcase their work and contribute to a more inclusive arts community in Leeds. This exhibition will be open to anyone who has participated in our space, workshops, or mentoring programmes.

If you would like more information, please contact Victoria or Louise at