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Salford Museum and Art Gallery will host a new exhibition that brings together the modern and contemporary art collections of the museum and the University of Salford Art Collection, for the first time.

As Salford City Council, Salford Community Leisure and the University work together to transform the Peel Park area through a strong cultural offering, Salford Museum and Art Gallery and the University Art Collection are developing new opportunities for artists and a programme of exhibitions for visitors.  

Acquired: a century of collecting is the second joint exhibition and looks at the history of collecting contemporary art in Salford over the last 100 years. 

Both institutions were established around 1850 to enhance the lives of local people and despite sharing the same location, both have evolved independently resulting in rich and diverse collections. Salford Museum and Art Gallery opened in 1850 and was one of the first public museums established by a British local authority.  Unlike similar institutions it did not inherit an existing collection but had to begin collecting from scratch.  The collection, which now contains over 2000 paintings, watercolours, drawing and prints, is predominately British Victorian art, donated mainly by local philanthropists and is on display in the Victorian Gallery.   

The University can also trace its roots back to 1850 and the formation of the Pendleton Mechanics Institute, but it did not start collecting art until the late 1960s. It now has around 700 items in the collection, mainly modern and contemporary art that underpins the ambitions of the School of Arts and Media.

Heritage manager for Salford Museum, Ceri Horrocks, said:


“We are delighted to host this important exhibition for both Salford and the UK with our neighbour the University of Salford and we look forward to future collaborations.”

This exhibition displays ‘hidden gems’ by artists such as Vanessa Bell, Graham Sutherland and Jacob Epstein alongside new acquisitions by Jai Redman, Mandy Payne, Yang Yongliang and Shezad Dawood. Both organisations have long been committed to supporting local artists and to bringing the very best contemporary art to the people of Salford; this has been encouraged and endorsed locally and nationally through gifts, grants and donations from individuals and organisations such as the Art Fund and the Contemporary Art Society. 

Lindsay Taylor, Curator at University of Salford, said:


“The history of the two collections is fascinating and this exhibition demonstrates the shifting ambitions and aspirations of both organisations. What is clear is that Salford has long understood the important role of contemporary art and the contribution of artists to society.”  

Acquired: a century of collecting runs until June 9th 2019 at Salford Museum and Art Gallery, The Crescent, Peel Park, Salford and is open Tuesday-Friday 9.30am-4.30pm and weekends 11.30am-4pm.

There are several exhibition tours taking place in 2019. The tours will take visitors on a journey through video, sculpture, painting and more with an exclusive insight beyond the surface. Tours take place on Tuesday 6th February, 1pm – 1.45pm, Wednesday 13th March 6pm – 6.45pm and Thursday 2nd May 1pm – 1.45pm. The tours are free and booking is recommended.

There is also an Acquired Arts Activity taking place on Tuesday April 9th 11am – 2 pm at Salford Museum during which a local Salford artist will visit the gallery and facilitate some unique activities for budding artists and anyone looking to get creative. The session costs £2, no booking required. On Twitter use the hashtag #acquiredsalford and follow @SalfordMuseum.


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