Manchester Contemporary Art Fund honoured in two prestigious awards ahead of this year’s art fair

Both the 2022 Achates Philanthropy Prize and the Manchester Culture Awards have recognised the fund’s efforts in supporting rising artists.

By Emma Davidson | 25 October 2022

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The Manchester Contemporary Art Fund – a trust created by a set of Greater Manchester residents passionate about their city and its cultural heritage – has recently been recognised in two prestigious cultural awards.

Ahead of this year’s Manchester Art Fair, set to take over the city from 4th – 6th November, the nominations come from the 2022 Achates Philanthropy Prize – the only national annual prize that celebrates first-time supporters of culture in the UK – and the Manchester Culture Awards 2022.

Further cementing the need for the collective in supporting and showcasing rising artists in the city, the nominations reward the hard work of the collective in providing artists with a platform through which to achieve critical acclaim and greater popularity in Manchester and beyond.

Founded by Thom Hetherington, CEO of Manchester Art Fair, the art fund acquires work from ‘The Manchester Contemporary,’ a section of the art fair featuring critically engaged works from emerging artists, for display in Manchester Art Gallery.  

Works are selected by curators of the Gallery and kept in the acclaimed venue’s permanent collection for the people of Greater Manchester to enjoy in perpetuity. Since its conception in 2017, the art fund has acquired fourteen pieces of work with a value of more than £30,000. 

Speaking on the nominations, Thom said: “The Manchester Contemporary Art Fund has captured the hearts of business people and entrepreneurs across the city.  People who have succeeded here in Manchester, because of Manchester. People who recognise the importance of the arts and want to give something back and to leave a mark. 

“We’ve rapidly become one of the largest regional philanthropic art funds, and to be shortlisted for the prestigious 2022 Achates Philanthropy Prize and the Manchester Culture Awards is a great honour and testament to our impact.  But with Manchester Art Gallery’s 200th anniversary looming we will not be resting on our laurels; we have great plans to ensure the fund will continue to grow and develop to provide a fitting celebration of that milestone.”

The most recent acquisitions from Masimba Hwati, Simon Bayliss and Mario Lanton are currently on display in the gallery. Masimba’s work draws on his Zimbabwe inheritance and the legacies of colonialism. 

Simon’s sculpture and ceramic work explores the social use of tea and coffee and Mario was inspired by his grandma’s religious icons in spain. He overpaints the relics with contemporary scenes, with climate change currently being explored throughout his work.

Speaking on The Manchester Contemporary Art Fund’s ambition, Alistair Hudson, Director of Manchester Art Gallery said: “The Manchester Contemporary Art Fund has now become an annual institution integral to The Manchester Contemporary art fair.  

“As public funding for museum collections shrinks, this growing initiative allows Manchester Art Gallery the opportunity to expand the city’s collections and support the work of emerging artists.  This is a vital part of the gallery, as a civic institution, to enable and increase the cultural ecology of the city in partnership with businesses and philanthropists – as it has been for nearly two hundred years; with a collection that is relevant, develops with the times and belongs to the residents of the city. 

“We are enormously grateful to The Manchester Contemporary for collaborating in this way and for contributing to a dynamic environment for artists in the region. “ 

The Manchester Contemporary takes place at Manchester Art Fair this November 4th – 6th with a VIP preview from 5pm – 9pm on Friday 4th November.  The event then opens to the public on Saturday 5th and Sunday 6th November, 10am – 6pm and 10am – 4pm respectively.