Thought provoking and inspiring: The art of our city

A Manchester artist has gone global this year with the 2016 Royal Mail Christmas postage stamps. Helen Musselwhite is proud that her striking first-class robin design will be dropping through letter boxes all over the world. She is, however, just the latest in long line of artistic success.

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Not only has Manchester always been home to artists of all types, the city itself has inspired our creative minds. Using the theme of light, innovation and industry, we’d like to highlight a few free exhibitions which we think our visitors would enjoy as we head into the New Year.

Be Enlightened

Enjoy your own light-bulb moment amongst the Lightwaves Digital Light Show at Salford Quays. Following last year’s success, Lightwaves returns to bring light into the December darkness. Love and friendship light up our lives at Christmas, and the new large-scale interactive commission ‘Heartbeat’ focuses on this. There is an exciting programme of events, workshops, and 9 artworks span The Quays. From the Plaza between The Lowry and the Lowry Outlet, to MediaCityUK’s Piazza, and even in the River Irwell.

Lightwaves Digital Art Show | Salford Quays | 9-18 December 2016. Entrance is free.

Bee Informed

Although genius helps, genuine creativity requires commitment and hard work. So what better creature is there to reflect this than the bee? The bee has strong links with Manchester as a symbol of hard work. It links the historic Industrial Revolution with the innovative and enterprising present. The bee symbol is on the city coat of arms, and found in the town hall and on other buildings and structures. Artistic symbolism, innovative city apiary, and scientific endeavour are uniquely combined in After The Bees at Manchester Museum.

After the Bees | Manchester Museum |16 November 2016 – July 2017. Entrance is free.

Be drawn

For over 45 years Deanna Petherbridge has focused on technical drawing. Monochrome architectural drawings can be cold and unemotional, but she cleverly incorporates modern conflict. Central here is ‘Manchester Suite’, a collection of drawings made during her six-month residency at Manchester Art Gallery in 1982. It combines regeneration of an industrial city, the Falklands’ war, and historical themes in exquisite detail.

Deanna Petherbridge | The Whitworth | 2 December 2016 – 4 June 2017. Entrance is free.

Be controversial

Claude Monet we have all heard of, but Wynford Dewhurst? Born in Manchester in 1864, he studied law, before moving to Paris to train as an artist and art historian. He controversially suggested that French impressionism was actually inspired British artists. He is most famous for The Picnic (1908) which is in Manchester Art Gallery. This first ever retrospective brings together a large selection of his sunshine fuelled impressionism. Archive footage and little known documentation sheds light on the artist, and Manchester can proudly reclaim him as a city luminary.

Wynford Dewhurst: Manchester’s Monet | Manchester Art Gallery | Friday 9 December 2016–Sunday 23 April 2017. Entrance is free.

What exhibitions will you be enjoying during your visit here? Tell us about it.

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