A firm favourite in Manchester’s cultural calendar, the Manchester Art Fair and The Manchester Contemporary weekend is not to be missed.
one of the largest and most prestigious art fairs in the country
Since its launch in 2008, Manchester Art Fair has developed a strong reputation as one of the largest and most prestigious art fairs in the country, providing a platform for commercial galleries and individual artists from across the north and beyond. With a focus on modern and contemporary painting, sculpture, photography and editioned prints, the fair offers visitors the opportunity to buy unique artworks at more affordable prices, as well as meet many of the artists themselves and take in the breadth and diversity of the work on display. The full list of this year’s exhibitors is yet to be announced, but Manchester-based Saul Hay Gallery, Contemporary Six and Artzu Gallery are all among the confirmed, as well as a number of places from further afield, including Cornwall’s The Drang Gallery, Norfolk’s A Heart of Glass and Subversion Gallery from Glasgow. 2018 saw 125 exhibitors selling work by over 600 handpicked artists.
The true highlight of the weekend for many, however, is The Manchester Contemporary. An off-shoot of the original fair, this sister-strand is where you tend to find the most exciting and critically-engaged work, presented by a tightly-curated selection of independent galleries and artist-led spaces from around the UK and Europe. Since artist and curator Nat Pitt from Division of Labour took the helm, The Manchester Contemporary has only continued to grow in strength and ambition with last year’s edition made up of over 75% new exhibitors and the largest international presence to date. The quality of work to be encountered here is a strong draw and the majority of Manchester’s visual art crowd passes through over the course of the three days.
where you find the most exciting and critically-engaged work
Each fair is held in the cavernous hall of the former railway station, Manchester Central, and the £5 weekend ticket provides entry to both. Step through the doors and prepare to be engulfed in the whirlwind energy of this unmatchable annual art bazaar. And get your Christmas shopping underway while you’re at it!