Salford art gallery’s online exhibition, Open [2], is due to close on the 31st of October.

Open [2] began online on 3rd August, it made local artists able to showcase their work even though lockdown restriction stopped the exhibition happening in person.

Exhibitions Manager, Amy Brunn, explains the direction of the exhibition and the ideas behind it.

“We started doing an open exhibition in 2018. The plan was to hold an Open exhibition at Salford Museum and Art Gallery every other year, but due to the Covid-19 pandemic, we could not deliver the Open [2] in 2020 as our galleries were closed. We were in the fortunate position to be able to redevelop some of our website to give us more flexibility and ability to hold online exhibitions. We still wanted to support Salford artists throughout the pandemic, so holding the open online seemed an ideal way to do this and to launch our online exhibition offer.”

The gallery received 117 submissions in total from 60, they included all the submissions.

“As the past few years have also been difficult for a lot of people for a lot of different reasons, we felt that it was important to show that engagement in art in some way can be a way to help mental health and hope that it inspires others.”

Brunn explains how the art has brought Salford artists together and what their collective ethos is.

“I have worked in Salford for over 10 years now and have always been impressed by the sense of pride and intrepidness Salford artists have.”

“I have worked in Salford for over 10 years now and have always been impressed by the sense of pride and intrepidness Salford artists have.”

We strive to support the artistic community, old and new, and believe that holding an open exhibition specifically for Salford is a way to bring everyone together and celebrate what Salford has to offer.”

There have been negative consequences to the creative industry over the past year and after slowing lifting the pandemics restrictions, local galleries and museums need all the help and interaction they can get. Amy talks about how Salford’s art gallery has been affected personally.

“The gallery was closed throughout the pandemic, opening briefly between lockdowns. Most of our staff were furloughed and our exhibitions programme was put on hold. We then also had some buildings issues which put our planned opening date back further. We were so pleased to be able to open our doors again to our visitors in July, but we are still not back to our full opening hours due to capacity.

“Things are not back to normal yet at the gallery. We are asking visitors to book to visit so we can control numbers in the galleries. We are asking visitors to sanitise their hands regularly and to wear face masks if possible. We have also put in place a suggested route and one way system to help with social distancing and visitor flow. This is to help keep our visitors and staff as safe as possible. We have also put in place other safety precautions like screens, revised cleaning regime and contactless payment. We have had to restrict numbers on events and deliver more of our offer digitally.”

In September 2022 the gallery is showcasing the Open [2] artwork physically so the artists and community can view it in person.

“Being able to hold the Open [2] online has been a great achievement for us, but I don’t think you can beat being able to get up close to the original works to see them as intended by the artist.”

Head online here to catch the exhibition before it closes on the 31st of October or keep an eye out for the physical exhibition in September 2022.

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