Manchester’s art isn’t exclusive to the galleries, nor are the only examples of public art to be found on the streets of the Northern Quarter. There are great works all over the city, and out in the suburbs. From Lemn Sissay’s series of public poems adorning the walls and pavements through to the classical Ford Madox Brown murals at the Town Hall, what other artworks lie in wait of discovery?
Spring Gardens post office
The post office off Market Street houses a series of fibre glass murals that you’ll either love or hate. These large panels date from 1969 and sit above the counter, though despite their size and four decades of sitting pretty in public view, it’s remarkable how few people have even noticed them. Created in modern post-war style, similar to the works of Alan Boyson, William Mitchell and Didsbury-based Mitzi Cunliffe (famous for designing the BAFA mask), these reliefs have survived renovation, unlike many other works from this era which are often seen as dated and the first to go during modernisation. Image by Joshua Gow
Mitchell Mural in the Mercure Hotel
William Mitchell has a series of works to be found around Manchester and Salford, mostly located in functional buildings such as schools or offices with a few examples installed outdoors. Working closely with architects, believing art and architecture to be basically the same form, Mitchell has an extensive portfolio that he can’t even keep track of himself. This particular mural is located over four floors in the Mercure Hotel at Piccadilly and is made from sections of old pianos hammers, furniture and bottle tops. If you stand back a little you can start to see the shape of buildings and birds emerging, like an old fashioned Magic Eye. Image courtesy of William and Joy Mitchell.
Designed by Dan Dubowitz the peeps are a series of peepholes located all over Ancoats that allow you to peer into the past. Sometimes you might find a simple spy hole into the interior of an old mill, whilst other times you’ll find yourself gazing upon mechanical pieces set in motion like clockwork. The peeps are there as part of the transformation of the area and to encourage people to walk about and explore Ancoats.
It’s also well worth checking out Home, a temporary installation by Neil Dimelow and curated by Phil Griffin. Home is a panorama of Manchester’s skyline drawn from the 24th floor of the building by a former architect. The pop up gallery is currently in the foyer of City Tower until the end of May, it will then tour a selection of Bruntwood-owned buildings in the city centre.