The Manchester Open launch was the busiest in HOME’s history – and curator Bren O’Callaghan has confirmed that the exhibition will become a regular biennial event.
Over 3,750 people attended over the opening weekend, with queues on opening night stretching out of HOME’s door and across First Street.
Dave Moutrey, Director and CEO of HOME, said: “We always thought that the Manchester Open would find an audience in our city but the number of people turning up to see this excellent exhibition has been truly extraordinary. To say that we are delighted by the record breaking attendance is an understatement and a tribute to the quality of the work coming from our city of artists.”
In just over four weeks over 20,000 people have seen the exhibition which features 543 artworks by 451 artists from across all 10 boroughs of Greater Manchester.
Bren O’Callaghan said: “The people of Greater Manchester have spoken loudly and clearly. Not only is there a vast pool of untapped talent across the region, but audiences have proved willing to support unknown local names and not just celebrity headliners. We’ve been inundated with messages of support, both from artists and visitors, with multiple requests that the Manchester Open becomes a continuing fixture in the city calendar. We hear you. We see you. And we agree with you.
“As of this moment, the Manchester Open will not only return every two years to allow for replenishment of submissions, but we will endeavour to champion those using art for a variety of reasons; from health and well-being to combatting loneliness, expressing diverse lived experiences or simply wishing to experiment and explore.
“The game is afoot. The Manchester Open will return in 2022. Meanwhile, keep an eye out for the announcement of the first Manchester Open Award winners on Thursday, February 20.”
The five winners of the Manchester Open Awards will each receive artist bursaries with a value of £2,000 each delivered in collaboration with Castlefield Gallery. These will be tailored to each winning artist, and may cover travel, materials, studio rent, website development or any aspect of their practice following peer review and advice.
It’s the start of an exciting fifth birthday year for HOME, which will continue with their first HOME-produced musical, the apocalyptic alien extravaganza Insane Animals (Fri 28 Feb 2020 – Sat 14 Mar 2020) and the Viva Spanish and Latin American Film Festival (Fri 6 Mar 2020 – Thu 26 Mar 2020), now in its incredible 26th year.
The Manchester Open Exhibition runs until Sun Mar 29 and admission is free.