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Image © Manchester Art Gallery via Facebook

A Guide to Manchester Art Gallery

20 April 2016 | London Calling

Manchester Art Gallery is the perfect location to inspire and refuel your mind. If you’re lacking enthusiasm or motivation, take a stroll through the space and you’re instantly renewed.

Entry to the Gallery is free, so there’s no excuse not to explore. There are portraits to enjoy, workshops to attend and even lunchtime mindfulness classes. It’s the perfect location for a dose of peace and quiet. Whether you spend hours inside or just ten minutes, you’ll be glad that you made the journey.

Whatever your interests, there’s something inside for you. If you’re a culture buff, you’ll be in your element and if you find the whole art scene a bit overwhelming, don’t fret – they’ve got you covered! The gallery is home to aristocratic family portraits, talking robots and everything in between. You can take a seat and soak up a story from Greek myth, admire a picturesque English landscape or get stuck in and build your own creation. And when you’re quite done with all that, don’t forget about the revamped café. Cakes, sandwiches and soups galore!

Manchester is blessed to have such a breadth of exhibits on display slap bang in the city centre. With exhibits regularly changing and permanent collections being refreshed, there is always something new to find. There isn’t just a focus on paintings either, the Gallery is home to ceramics, furniture, costume and much, much more. Visitors can watch the progression of art through the ages and examine technology’s growing influence on the medium. The venue hosts TV screens, machines, light and sound installations, immersive exhibits that engage the senses and connect visitors to the art. Manchester Art Gallery has found a compromising balance between the traditional and the new.

Falling into the interactive category is ‘The Imitation Game’, an exhibition combining the vision of eight international artists as they explore the theme of machines and the imitation of life. They have delivered a creative and thought provoking response to the theme that provides a refreshing contrast to the more conventional representations of art. To compliment the artist’s creations, running alongside ‘The Imitation Game’ is ‘Transformations’, a family friendly installation that encourages visitors to immerse themselves in art. Mirrors line the walls, building blocks and shapes adorn the room and tools and trinkets sit waiting to be transformed into your masterpiece. Engage your imagination and distort your body in front of the mirrors, let your children explore the shapes and have their minds run wild with colour. It’s a space with endless possibility that examines our relationship with art. The exhibition is on display at the Gallery until June 5th. We definitely recommend a family visit to this sensory explosion!

“The gallery is home to aristocratic family portraits, talking robots and everything in between.”

A spare fifteen minutes on your lunch break? Pop inside and seek solace from Banksy and Freud. Even if you don’t step through those doors, take a moment to pause on your commute to work and admire the Urban Garden blossoming outside. The garden bloomed under the care of The National Trust and it is now a playground for the Gallery’s resident bee families living on the roof. Manchester Art Gallery are working closely with Historic England and Manchester City Council to develop plans to turn the Gallery’s exterior into a permanent green space. This floral retreat will be a welcome addition to the city’s architecture and one that will be eagerly anticipated.

You’ve probably walked past it hundreds of times, but how often do you actually pop in? Behind those towering columns lies creativity, beauty and invention. Spanning across the decades and centuries, Manchester Art Gallery holds art history within its walls. It’s time you paid them a visit.

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