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Manchester Art Fair launches pioneering Art Fund to acquire new piece of work for Manchester Art Gallery

24 Oct 2017

The Manchester Contemporary, the only UK invitational art fair for critically engaged contemporary art outside London, has launched a new art fund which will acquire a piece of work for Manchester Art Gallery. The piece in question will be selected by the gallery’s curatorial team and will belong to the people of Manchester.


The fund has been created by uniting a set of local and entrepreneurs who are passionate about their city and its cultural renaissance, and who want to encourage Manchester’s business community to emulate the patronage of public institutions which was so prevalent in the city’s industrial heyday when local philanthropists helped to build up Manchester Art Gallery’s world class permanent collection.


This founder group have created an initial fund of £4,000 to be used for purchasing a work from one of the artists exhibited at The Manchester Contemporary this weekend. It’s a healthy budget considering the gallery’s curatorial team target emerging artists in their early careers, and famously bought works by Henry Moore for £50. The selected work will be displayed at the gallery in 2018 and will then sit as part of its permanent collection, which is ultimately owned by the people of Manchester.


Thom Hetherington, CEO of The Manchester Contemporary, says “As a trustee of Manchester Art Gallery am I well aware of the importance of its permanent collection, and also of the need to remain current, acquiring works from the most daring and relevant contemporary artists.” He continues “There are no shortage of successful Mancunians who are proud of their city and are open to the idea of cultural patronage, we just had to create the right opportunity for them. The response says that we have.”


The founding members of The Manchester Contemporary Art Fund are

  • James Eden
  • Mark Garner
  • Mark Hawthorn
  • Thom Hetherington & Sophie Helm
  • Jeremy & Jane Roberts
  • Andy Spinoza


The main selection criterion will be suitability for an intervention within the gallery's permanent collection. Curators from Manchester Art Gallery will visit the Fair from 15:00 on Friday 27 October to select the work for acquisition and the announcement will then be made at the start of the preview at 17:00.


Curator Kate Jesson says "Manchester Art Gallery is our city's gallery and its world-famous collection of art belongs to the people of Manchester. The collection is used to tell stories, inspire learning, and ignite debate.  At a time of increasing political uncertainty and rising intolerance, it is more important than ever that we are able to help people understand the times in which we live as expressed by contemporary art. The Manchester Contemporary Art Fund will enable us to do just that".


2017 marks the tenth edition of the fair which started as a collaborative project of graduate work and curated exhibitors back in 2008. Now ten years on it is moving to Manchester Central, one of the city’s most historic buildings, providing it with increased space and room to grow and allowing it to continue to drive the North’s art market forward for years to come. The fair continues to be supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England.


The Manchester Contemporary takes place this year from 27-29 October. An exclusive performance art piece by much-heralded Plastique Fantastique, collaborating with East London’s IMT Gallery, is scheduled at the VIP Preview at 17:00 GMT on Friday 27 October. Over the weekend there will be a full programme of events including the popular Pavel Büchler with his ‘in conversation with artists’ series and the chance to join a curator led guided tour of the fair.


The Manchester Contemporary opens with a VIP preview from 17:00 – 21:00 on Friday 27 October, and then opens to the public on Saturday 28 and Sunday 29 October, 10:00-18:00 and 10:00-17:00 respectively. Tickets are available now from www.themanchestercontemporary.co.uk
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Supported by

'Supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England


Landmark Investments Group

Manchester School of Art

5Plus Architects

Cheadle Hulme School

Manchester City Council

Manchester Evening News

J W Lees


The Prinicipal Manchester

Jack Arts

Own Art

Hetherington Framers

Leopold Eaton