ACCORDING To McGee is hitting the festive groove in York with a razor sharp, generous-hearted exhibition of contemporary art from professional artists and members of the public.

Bringing together the Tower Street gallery and its charitable arm, New Visuality, UnSeen Colours will launch on Saturday at midday with ska musician and Pop Art artist Horace Panter as the main exhibitor.

"UnSeen Colours is in essence an experimental exhibition, where we selected our current favourite Pop Artists and now display them alongside letterpress posters featuring slogans coined by members of the public," says gallery and charity director Greg McGee.

During last week's Aesthetica Short Film Festival in York, the McGee gallery projected a series of questions on independent art through their front window and on to the street. "We invited nocturnal passers-by to join the conversation via social media," says McGee. Responses came accompanied with hashtags and on New Visuality's Twitter feed, with ideas and slogans fed into printing sessions, including 3D prints and letterpress posters.

York Press:

Cassette, by Horace Panter

"It was a multi-faceted project, that's for sure, but it's now distilled into a simple exhibition," says McGee. We thought, 'how better to display the posters and 3D prints than alongside our favourite Pop Artists?'.

"Pop Art has such a crisp, accessible vibe, and its reach is arguably bigger than anything we've exhibited all year, so we called ska star Horace Panter, of The Specials, who suggested Scottish award-winning artist Colin Brown and York favourite Mat Lazenby for the show."

Look out too for the latest digital art from York artist Richard Barnes. "He continues to endow York cityscapes with an edge hitherto limited to Las Vegas," suggests McGee.

The potentially disparate nature of the exhibition does not perturb co-director Ails McGee. "The works really complement each other. They may be different in terms of genre, but even our seascape artists, David Baumforth and Freya Horsley, share a contemporary, vivid sense of visual heft that just makes sure everything gels," she says.

"Mix that in with the letterpress posters, based on the thoughts of members of the public, and you've got an exhibition that pushes at the boundaries of what a contemporary gallery is capable of."

York Press:

A letterpress poster by New Visuality's Independent Artonauts

Panter agrees, saying: "I’m delighted to be included in this exhibition. UnSeen Colours will include my Clash and Ramones limited-edition prints, with both pieces seeking to encapsulate the essence of two iconic musical forces, while leaning on the references of Sir Peter Blake and Robert Rauschenburg. My Walkman pieces, meanwhile, celebrate a moribund piece of music technology; groundbreaking in its day, it now exists only as a repository of memory for all those who owned one in the 1980s."

UnSeen Colours is project-funded by Arts Council England's Grants for the Arts programme and already has produced a week of interactive, immersive light installations from artist Nick Walters. Next month will see a residency from York performance artists Claire Hind and Gary Winters, fresh from their triumphant series of happenings in USA.

"It's an ambitious, evolving exhibition that has at its heart the celebration of independent creativity," says Greg. "The art scene in the UK has never been healthier, and whether it's a rock star like Horace Panter or a tourist visiting York for the Aesthetica Short Film Festival getting involved, there's a new-found confidence in sharing stories and getting creative. It bodes well for 2018, and we're just honoured to be able to showcase the wildly different work that comes out of it."

Also featuring artwork by Amrik Varkalis, The Killing Tree, Chris Rivers and Patrick Smith, UnSeen Colours will run at According To McGee, York, from Saturday to January 24.