Barnsley Libraries host the unveiling of local artist Richard Kitson’s portrait of Ian McMillan

Yesterday, guests gathered at Library @ the Lightbox to get a first glimpse of Richard Kitson’s new artwork – a portrait of poet, journalist, playwright, and broadcaster Ian McMillan.

Ian McMillan, also known as the Bard of Barnsley, is one of the UK’s best-known contemporary poets. Aside from many books for adults and children, sometimes including prose and plays, he has also made appearances on television, on all the national BBC radio channels and in diverse newspapers and magazines.

The unveiling took place on the eve of National Poetry Day, and this was the first time Ian had seen the portrait himself.

Ian McMillan said: “It’s such a privilege to have my portrait painted by a wonderful Barnsley artist like Richard Kitson. He’s captured the real me and if ever I forget who I am, I’ll come to Library @ the Lightbox to remind myself.

“Barnsley these days is a real hub of the arts, thanks to people like Richard.”

Richard Kitson said: “It’s rare that I paint anyone with a public profile, so when I met Ian, I wanted to create something that celebrates Ian’s contribution to local culture. It’s been a pleasure working with him, and an enjoyable experience.”

Richard Kitson is a Barnsley-based artist whose work is primarily concerned with, but not confined to, portraiture and the human figure. His newest portrait of Ian McMillan will be available for anyone to view at Library @ the Lightbox until the end of January 2024. This is a great chance for residents and visitors to get involved with the ‘All In’ programme that was launched earlier in September to make art and culture accessible to more people than ever before.

At the end of 2022, Barnsley Libraries was awarded National Portfolio Organisations status and are committed to bringing art and culture to local communities as part of their enhanced offer. In the next few weeks, Barnsley Libraries will kick off their ‘Library Lates’ programme that will bring evening cultural events, activities, talks and sessions to libraries across the borough.

The programme is supported using public funding by Arts Council England.

A - Z Directory