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Buy Art Fair and Manchester Contemporary

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by David Keyworth (subscribe)
I’m a freelance journalist and published poet, based in Manchester. My debut poetry pamphlet is available at
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Shopping for art lovers
Artists, art lovers, experienced collectors and first time buyers will brush shoulders at the tenth Buy Art Fair (North).

Last year the fair was held at Old Granada Studios. This year it takes place beneath the vaulted arches of Manchester Central - the former train station in the Petersfield district, which is now a concert, exhibition and convention centre.

Over the past ten years, £3m of art has been sold at the fair, including work by Grayson Perry, Tracey Emin and Damien Hirst. There over 3,000 artworks on sale this year and they start at a price tag of £50.

If you have £16,500 saved up in a tin somewhere, or hiding under the bed, you could buy Bellsong by Ann Carrington - a 'bowl of flowers' made up of silver plated and steel spoons and forks. If that only puts a small dent in your budget, you could also take home J-Hammer by Alastair Gibson, for £17,500 - a hammerhead shark made up of carbon fibre and selected Grand Prix car parts.

If painting suits your palate better, you could opt for one of Jake Attree impasto paintings, which draw on traditions of both abstraction and landscape.

It is possible, however - as I know from personal experience - to simply walk around the stalls, drawing up an imaginary shopping list and ending up buying nothing more than a couple of cards.

In addition to the artistic transactions, there will be painting and drawing workshops, curator-led tours and activities for children, print demos, live screenings, performance art and interviews.

Topics for the 'art talks' series include Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality - a look into the 'mid-21st century art world'. The expansive topic - 'Where we Are' will be discussed by Simeon Barclay - one of this year's Liverpool Biennial associate artists; Pavel Büchler - former Professor at Manchester School of Art and Poppy Bowers - Exhibitions Curator at the Manchester's Whitworth Gallery.

Away from Manchester Central, there will be a 'Masterpiece Dinner' to launch a new 'collectors club', at the Whitworth (a bus or limousine ride up Oxford Road). The occasion will also raise funds for Action Against Hunger - the organisation formed in 1995, with the aim of 'ensuring everyone can access clean water, food, training and healthcare'.

In 2008, the fair raised over £13,000 for charity by auctioning celebrity doodles - including a sketch of a shark by Damien Hirst.

Running in parallel with the Buy Art Fair will again be The Manchester Contemporary. Launched in 2009, The Manchester Contemporary gives collectors a first chance to buy work from emerging artists and help fund not-for-profit organisations who support the development of new artists. Manchester School of Art is amongst the showcase of art stars of the future.

Manchester Central, Art, Manchester Contemporary
Paola Ciarska, Untitled (IMT Gallery)

Thom Hetherington, Fair CEO, Buy Art Fair Limited says: "We are proud to take place in one of Europe's most vibrant and creative cities, and delighted to have secured a new long term home at the historic Manchester Central exhibition centre. It places us firmly at the heart of the region's unprecedented cultural renaissance."

If you are determined to buy some art but do not have a budget on the scale of hedge fund, it might be worth talking to the representatives from the Own Art stand. To quote its website, the organisation enables you to "purchase over 10 months with an interest free loan."

Manchester Central, Art, Manchester Contemporary
There are over 3,000 artworks on sale this year. RYDER

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Why? Buy a work of art or dream up a wish list
When: 27 - 29 October 2017
Phone: 01457 851151
Where: Manchester Central Convention Complex. Petersfield M2 3GX
Cost: £5 - £12
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