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Work by rising artists selected by new Art Fund for donation to Manchester Art Gallery

27 October 2017

A gift to the city from The Manchester Contemporary Art Fund

The Manchester Contemporary, the only UK invitational art fair for critically engaged contemporary art outside London, today announced artists William Mackrell and Emma Price as the first to benefit from its newly-launched The Manchester Contemporary Art Fund.

Created by a set of local business people passionate about their city and its cultural heritage, The Manchester Contemporary Art Fund seeks to support rising artists, providing them with a platform through which to achieve critical acclaim and greater popularity.

William Mackrell, represented by The RYDER, and Emma Price, represented by Two Queens,  were selected from over 150 artists by Fund founders and the curatorial team of Manchester Art Gallery following an exhaustive panel discussion. William’s piece - Aquarius, and Emma’s pieces – Mike I and Mike II, are to be displayed in the gallery. 

Speaking on behalf of The Manchester Contemporary its CEO, Thom Hetherington, said: “This is an exciting moment in Manchester’s cultural history as we invest in pieces for the future which generations will go on to enjoy.”

“As a trustee of Manchester Art Gallery I am well aware of the importance of its permanent collection and for the need for it to remain current, acquiring works from the most daring and relevant contemporary artists. Today’s addition of both Emma and William’s work adds some  important new pieces to that collection.”

Curator of Manchester Art Gallery, Kate Jesson, added: "We are this city's gallery and our world-famous collection of art belongs to the people of Manchester. The Manchester Contemporary Art Fund has enabled us to continue to add to our collection a contemporary and exciting new piece. The Fund is an excellent innovation, gifting brilliant new pieces to art lovers both here in Manchester and further afield.”

The £4,000 Fund was awarded to the two artists on the opening evening of this year’s Manchester Contemporary.

Pati Lara, founder of The RYDER gallery, commented: “Of all the artists we now work with, William was the first we ever exhibited. We work closely together to ensure his art, when it is exhibited, can be enjoyed to its fullest. The fact that his work will now be displayed in Manchester Art Gallery is a very significant moment for all of us.”

Speaking on the achievement, Emma Price, from Leicester, said: “It’s really exciting to have my work displayed in Manchester Art Gallery, especially with Flemish interiors, which I’ve studied from during my painting degree in Edinburgh. This is the first Fund to purchase my work for a gallery collection.”

The Manchester Contemporary Art Fund has been created by uniting a set of local business people who want to encourage Manchester’s business community to emulate the patronage of public institutions which were so prevalent in the city’s industrial heyday.

The founding members of The Manchester Contemporary Art Fund are:

  • James Eden
  • Mark Garner
  • Mark Hawthorn
  • Thom Hetherington & Sophie Helm
  • Jeremy & Jane Roberts
  • Andy Spinoza


The Manchester Contemporary takes place this year from 27-29 October. An exclusive performance art piece by much-heralded Plastique Fantastique, collaborating with East London’s IMT Gallery, is scheduled at the VIP Preview at 17:00 GMT on Friday 27 October.

Over the weekend there will be a full programme of events including the chance to join a curator-led guided tour of the fair.

The Manchester Contemporary opens with a VIP preview from 17:00 – 21:00 on Friday 27 October, and then opens to the public on Saturday 28 and Sunday 29 October, 10:00-18:00 and 10:00-17:00 respectively.


Supported in 2017 by


Jack Arts

Manchester Evening News

Principal Manchester

Manchester City Council

Manchester School of Art

Cheadle Hulme School

Landmark Investments Group

5plus architects


Farrow & Ball

J W Lees

Cass Art

Own Art