Manchester’s centre for international contemporary art, film and theatre, today announced the launch of the first Manchester Open Exhibition, a major new celebration of the creative talent of Greater Manchester residents.
Entry to this major open-submission art show opens on Monday 15 July to anyone who lives in Bolton, Bury, Manchester, Oldham, Rochdale, Salford, Stockport, Tameside, Trafford or Wigan. It is the first region-wide exhibition of its type to welcome entries from people of any background and level of experience, including established professionals, new and emerging talent, enthusiastic amateurs and first-time artists.
The Manchester Open Exhibition 2020 will bring together artwork including paintings, prints, photography, sculpture, digital and mixed media, video and audio, spoken word, performance and more. Applicants can submit as an individual or a group via a specially designed online application form.
HOME and Cass Art are teaming up and going on tour in August and September to encourage as many people as possible to get creative and take part in the Manchester Open. They’ll be heading to libraries and venues across Greater Manchester, providing free, fun, interactive creative workshops and practical support for people who’d like to create and submit their artwork but aren’t sure where to start.
Director and Chief Executive of HOME, Dave Moutrey described the Manchester Open as “A call to the 2.8 million people living in Greater Manchester to show us what they’ve got. We want to develop important conversations about what really makes creative expression and who can call themselves an artist. I’m excited by what we’ll discover, from new work to unknown makers. It’s a great opportunity to bring groups together, to share each other’s work and inspiration and encourage collaboration.”
HOME Curator Bren O’Callaghan, who proposed and will produce the exhibition added: “That it feels radical to exhibit the work of hundreds of local artists in a city-centre location like HOME is a wake-up call – we need to change our way of thinking about art and artists and how we support and develop talent. Why should ’local’ become shorthand for ‘not as good’? HOME’s purpose is to celebrate the artistic potential in everyone and we hope the Manchester Open, which will happen every two years, will become a high point in the region’s cultural calendar.”
All submitted artwork will be judged and curated by a selection committee chosen for their unique perspectives and their belief in the power of art to inspire and unite communities: Jamil Abdulkader; Monique Jarret; Anne Louise Kershaw; Bren O’Callaghan; Mario Popham; Kate Vokes and Helen Wewiora.
The Manchester Open will also take a unique approach to prize giving. Five £2,000 packages of talent development funds and support will be awarded, including the bOlder Greater Manchester Prize for entrants aged 50+, sponsored by the Greater Manchester Combined Authority as part of their Culture and Ageing programme.
There will also be a People’s Vote, judged by exhibition visitors. The awards will be designed in partnership with each winner to create a development package that meet their specific needs, such as research and travel opportunities, materials, studio rent, skills training, website support, artist residencies and support for production of new work.
In keeping with the democratic spirit of the Manchester Open, there is no charge to submit your artwork, but a ‘pay what you can’ voluntary donation is encouraged. All donations will be used to support the work of HOME’s Visual Art programme and work with communities and groups across Greater Manchester.