Arts and Culture

Cultural revival at the Manchester Arts Fair after one year hiatus

The Manchester Arts Fair, a grand exhibition of work from 130 galleries, is to open tomorrow November 19 at Manchester Central.  

Founded in 2008, the Arts Fair has given young artists a spotlight (and a stall) given their close links with the Manchester School of Arts and other art schools in the city. 

But on the other side of the stall, the fair is a chance for art-savvy customers to buy a wide array of paintings, sculptures, sketches or prints. 

However failing that, one could just walk around aimlessly and ponder and stare at the artwork you don’t have the money for nor the space for on the walls at home. 

This year’s Arts Fair has brought in top artists from the UK and international exhibitors, meaning there will be over 70 artist-led stalls selling their work from source. 

This concentration of artsy-nick-nacks is a positive sign for the arts industry, showing it can pick itself up after it was dealt a bad hand during the pandemic with the vast majority of businesses, galleries and artists unable to work during that long, isolated time. 

Additionally, the fair recently announced it had seen a 12% rise in the number of new and returning artists and galleries since 2019. 

The organiser’s story during the pandemic was one of adaptation. Early into the pandemic, they had created EASEL, an online arts sales platform in an effort to keep a vital financial artery connected to the arts and culture sector. 

This platform sold all from Banksy to L.S. Lowry to Trace Emin to Damien Hirst – meaning one could bag a Banksy on the sofa five films deep, or secure a Damien Hirst before you logged on for another painful day of Zoom. 

Upon the return of the much-loved Manchester Arts Fair, director Sophie Helm said: “The level of support for Manchester Art Fair is phenomenal.”

“We’re finding there is a real excitement as cultural events start to come back to the city and we’ve been inundated by artists and galleries eager to be involved.”

The fair will run from November 19 to 22.

“Manchester Central” by HBT is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

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