Buy Art Fair 2012 ‘Busiest Ever’

Organisers of this year’s Buy Art Fair and The Manchester Contemporary, which took place from 27 to 30 September at Spinningfields, Manchester, have revealed total visitor numbers of 6,875 which is 43% up on 2011 and the highest number since the event launched in 2007 making Buy Art Fair and The Manchester Contemporary the biggest art fair outside London.

Sales of art also exceeded figures from last year’s fair with an estimated £400,000 worth of art being purchased over the four day event, an increase of 39% on 2011. “Many of our galleries comfortably hit double figure art sales over the duration of the fair and indeed this year, one of our new galleries achieved almost £14,000 of sales in a mere fifteen minutes on the very first day. The north’s wealthy art buyers and collectors were clearly out in force,” said Thom Hetherington, managing director of Buy Art Fair and The Manchester Contemporary.

Earning its title as the North’s largest art buying event, Buy Art Fair, along with its sister fair, The Manchester Contemporary, welcomed a busy stream of art collectors & curators, interior designers, artists & photographers and media as well as first time buyers keen to start collections at home.]

Speaking about the fair’s unprecedented success, Thom said: “We are still reeling from this year’s show and are thrilled to see visitor numbers soar as they have. Awareness of this year’s fairs reached a crescendo in the weeks leading up to the opening and I think this, coupled with the formidable line-up of galleries and artists, was one of the reasons this year’s fair was the busiest ever.

“I think another factor which contributed to the success of the show was our talks programme which featured presentations by actor and photographer Bill Ward and author & journalist, Beatrice Hodgkin. Meeting these figures gave our visitors a brilliant insight into the value of investing in original art and tips on making that all important investment.”

Art fair highlights

Over the weekend-long event, Buy Art Fair, which was housed in a purpose-built marquee in the centre of Hardman Square at Spinningfields, played host to 50 galleries from all over the UK who exhibited works from over 500 established and popular artists. Pieces available to buy included original paintings, limited edition prints, sculptures and mixed media installations.

Exhibitors were equally delighted with this year’s fair, sharing comments such as:

  • ‘The location is fantastic and footfall has been non-stop’, Andrew Stott, Cloud Gallery
  • ‘I’ve done quite a few art fairs and this has been busier than any of the others’, Pippa Graber, ArtDog London
  • ‘This is a great location in the centre of town, there’s a lot going on, it feels very buzzy. The location is fantastic’, Pippa Graber, ArtDog London
  • ‘Great to see galleries coming together to make Buy Art Fair the Affordable Art Fair of the North’, Anthony Turner, Cheshire Art Agencies
  • ‘Becoming the Frieze of the North’, Annie Bowie, Bowie Gallery

Running alongside Buy Art Fair was The Manchester Contemporary which welcomed back a core group of regular exhibitors including Ceri Hand Gallery, Arcade, Bureau, Man&Eve, Seventeen, Workplace Gallery and WORKS|PROJECTS. New additions to the line-up included Manchester galleries Paper and Untitled which exhibited alongside other newcomers Rob Tufnell, Rod Barton Gallery and ROKEBY.

Thom added: “Neither of this year’s fairs would have even happened, let alone been the great successes that they were, without the support of our fantastic sponsors and funders. Special thanks this year go to Manchester’s Spinningfields and The Avenue, JMW Solicitors, Clarion PLC, Hetherington Newman and Living Ventures.

“We are also incredibly grateful to the Arts Council for its continued support which has helped make Buy Art Fair and The Manchester Contemporary, collectively, the biggest art buying event outside of London. 

“On a personal level, I would also like to thank our brilliant galleries and artists for exhibiting with us and of course, enormous thanks go to our wonderful visitors for making this year’s fair the biggest and best yet.”

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