Buy Art Fair 2015: The return of the cutting-edge art marketplace

Susie Stubbs

The north’s largest art fair is back – and look, it’s got a shiny new identity.

The Buy Art Fair must know something the rest of us don’t. When it launched, it did so at the start of a recession notable for its ideological hideousness and the feeling that Britain was being subjected to death by a thousand cuts. Getting people to part with cash for something as frivolous as art – well, it seemed about as likely as spotting George Osborne in Lidl. And yet, eight years on, the Buy Art Fair has not only become the largest such event outside London – it’s part of the wider cultural renaissance that Manchester lays claim to. And, as luck would have it, Osborne has in fact set foot inside a Lidl.

There’s the Artist’s Studio that, for the first time, allows visitors to buy direct from artists

The Buy Art Fair sits alongside the city’s new Museum of the Year (that’s the Whitworth, in case you missed last week’s joyous announcement), for example, as well as this summer’s Manchester International Festival and the newly opened HOME. And it can be found in a city that earlier this year the New York Times rated as one of the “52 places to go in 2015”.

It makes sense, then, that September’s event is bigger and better than ever. Alongside the main fair sits The Manchester Contemporary, the place to head to for all your edgy, contemporary art needs. There are talks, too, and print workshops, live painting and guided tours. There’s the Artist’s Studio that, for the first time, allows visitors to buy direct from artists. The fair itself even has a new visual identity, which is rather lovely (full disclosure alert: it has been created by our friends at Modern Designers) – oh, and it’s held inside the evocative Old Granada Studios, where the ghosts of ITV’s past surely still rattle and clank their analogue chains.

So, if ever there was an art fair that bucked expectations it’s this one. Book yourself a free ticket, then start saving – it begins on 24 September.

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