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Discover the best art galleries and libraries in Manchester

Art lovers are spoilt for choice in Manchester as there's everything from blockbuster shows to a thriving home-grown arts scene that is catered for by some fantastic independently-owned galleries. Here are some of the best to visit.


Manchester Art Gallery

When it comes to art galleries, for must-see exhibitions head to the Manchester Art Gallery in the centre of the city, which also has an excellent permanent collection including work by Stubbs, Francis Bacon and Anthony Gormley, while the award-winning Whitworth, part of Manchester University, welcomes everyone, from small children to art lovers or those who just adore the peace and quiet of its art garden.

Smaller galleries

Art is everywhere in the city, from graffiti on the walls of the Northern Quarter’s historic buildings to smaller galleries like Rogue Studios where during open studio you’ll get to see the artists at work as well as invest in some affordable art. Check out the Saul Hay Gallery in Castlefield, a passion project by husband and wife Ian and Catherine Hay, who curate regular contemporary art shows. You can buy vibrant contemporary art at Egoiste Gallery at Afflecks and the Richard Goodall Gallery in the Northern Quarter.

Art is everywhere in the city, from graffiti on the walls of the Northern Quarter’s historic buildings to smaller galleries like Rogue Studios where during open studio you’ll get to see the artists at work as well as invest in some affordable art

School of art

The Manchester School of Art’s Holden Gallery has a lovely contemporary exhibition space, showcasing new artworks and you can also get your fix of modern art at the Castlefield Gallery. At Manchester University’s grand neo-Gothic Alfred Waterhouse-designed campus on Oxford Road, you could catch a public lecture or a concert at the student union. Also on campus is the Sir Kenneth Green library which contains 175 years’ worth of art and design, from rare children’s books to Victorian ephemera.

Libraries

Lovers of libraries can explore Manchester’s Central Library on St Peter’s Square, a grand building with a magisterial entrance that was updated a few years ago so that now it not only houses a magnificent book collection but boasts state-of-the-art technology. The refurbished Reading Room is where the archives are to be found alongside new digital interactive features and if you need to access information or send an email, this is the perfect place to come and surf the web.

Chetham’s Library is the oldest free public library in the English-speaking world and has its home in the renowned music school that has produced world-class musicians, while the stunning John Rylands Library is a beautiful neo-Gothic delight incongruously placed on the busy shopping and partying area of Deansgate, with an interior that is truly stunning.

With so many culturally-rich venues in Manchester, you will be spoilt for choice.


Find out more about Manchester Art Gallery


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Image credits: ©Alan Williams/The Whitworth; Manchester Art Gallery; Manchester City Council; The John Rylands Library; Video: Youtube/Visit Manchester

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