10 reasons to visit this year's Manchester Art Fair (+ FREE tickets!)

One of the UK’s most ambitious art fairs returns to Manchester Central this October.

By Manchester's Finest | 8 October 2019

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Aviva Investors Manchester Art Fair is one of the largest and most ambitious art fairs in the UK and welcomes visitors looking to buy modern and contemporary paintings, sculpture, photography and editioned prints.

The fair returns to Manchester Central on 11th – 13th October and there are plenty of reasons why you shouldn’t miss a visit this year.

Manchester’s Finest readers can get FREE weekend tickets, normally £5, by booking below:

FREE Tickets

This year’s fair has more highlights than ever including:

The North’s Biggest Opportunity to Buy Art

Manchester Art Fair is the largest art fair in the North of England and one of the most ambitious fairs in the UK. With over 130 exhibitors, including leading Northern, national and international galleries, and over one thousand works for sale from over two hundred artists, it is the largest art buying opportunity outside of London.

Works for Sale from Contemporary Art’s Most Famous Names

Each year Manchester Art Fair offers the opportunity to acquire works by internationally renowned artists including Connor Brothers, Banksy and LS Lowry. A full list of the biggest names on sale at the fair will be released nearer the time. Alongside these well known names, the fair combines emerging local artistic talent such as Shabir Beigh and Lita Narayan with award-winning artists such as Greater Manchester Arts Prize winner James Roper and winner of the prestigious Sunday Times Cityscape Prize Janet Kenyon.

Win a Bansky worth £1950

In conjunction with Leon Martyn, stand 242, there is the chance to enter a raffle to win a Banksy print worth £1950, Walled Off Box Set, 2017, 23 x 23cm, Digital print with hand-sprayed authentic piece of Israel Wall in West Bank. Purchase your raffle ticket for £10 at stand 242 during the fair, winner announced Sunday at 4pm.

The Manchester Contemporary

Taking place alongside Manchester Art Fair, The Manchester Contemporary is the only fair of its type outside of London and focuses on critically engaged art, using bold curatorial vision to select the most exciting international and UK galleries to participate. The 2019 edition welcomes presentations from local organisations, such as Manchester’s Pink and Salford’s Paradise Works, and international installations from Madrid’s Espacio Liquido and New York’s LMAKgallery. This event continues to be curated by Nat Pitt from Division of Labour and is supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England. Expert help will be on hand for those who wish to learn more about the work on display and the artists so make sure you ask.

A Star of Manchester School of Art’s 2019 Degree Show

Manchester are delighted to be bringing one of the highlights of the 2019 Degree Show at Manchester School of Art to the fair. The piece is striking, relevant and will be a major to centrepiece to the fair. Details to be announced soon!

ITV Creates

In January 2019, ITV launched a new on-screen identity project across the ITV main channel. Every week new idents have been showcased, with a different interpretation of the ITV logo created by a wide range of British artists. All of the work is influenced by ITV, their programmes or the artist’s personal relationship with ITV and television itself. Most of the idents will be on show at Manchester Art Fair including one by Erin Taylor who graduated in Fine Art at Manchester School of Art in July 2019. Her ITV ident represents Erin’s first commission as an artist.

The Manchester Contemporary Art Fund

Now in its third year, The Manchester Contemporary Art Fund was created to purchase works from the fair and donate them to Manchester Art Gallery’s public collection. The three purchases made last year are currently on display in the gallery. The fund uses donations from prominent local business people to support young artists and provide them with a platform through which to achieve critical acclaim and greater popularity. This year’s acquisitions will be revealed on the Preview Night, so make sure you check out those artists who have been recognised by the fund.

Workshops at the Fair

Manchester Art Fair also offers the chance for visitors to get involved with drawing classes for adults hosted by Creative Art Courses and paint workshops with Cass Art. Hot Bed Press return to the fair with their screen printing demonstrations and a fully working print workshop on stand 230. Cass Art are also running activities for children covering all things bee and you will find them in the café.

Food and Drink at the Fair, with a new Prosecco Bar

Don’t rush your visit to Manchester Art Fair, take your time to browse the work then enjoy a choice of food and drink in the Art Café or glass of prosecco while you decide which pieces to buy.

Make a Cultural Day Of It

Over the fair weekend there is a host of art events happening across the city, with highlights including open studios at Paradise Works in Salford, Louise Giovanelli’s exhibition at Manchester Art Gallery and No Particular Place to Go, 35 years of sculpture at Castlefield Gallery, meaning you can enjoy Manchester’s cultural renaissance morning, noon and night.

Founder Thom Hetherington said, “We’re so proud of how the fair has developed during the last twelve years. It has attracted over 68,000 art lovers and sold more than £4.5m of art, and changed the lives of artist, gallerists and collectors across the region.”

He continues “Our biggest success has been reaching out to non-traditional art buyers; we have a very Mancunian and egalitarian approach to making art accessible. As the artist Keith Haring famously said, “There is an audience that is being ignored … they are open to art when it is open to them.”


Manchester Art Fair

Venue: Manchester Central
Dates: Friday 11th – Sunday 13th October
Times: Friday (5-9pm), Saturday (10am-6pm), Sunday (10am – 5pm)
Cost: FREE (usually £5)

FREE Tickets