Thursday Lates at Manchester Art Gallery

This has been on my to do list for a while now. There’s something very appealing about the thought of spending the evening wandering around an art gallery.  And so last Thursday, that’s what I decided to do. Most museums and galleries are open late (till 9pm) on a Thursday and I chose Manchester Art Gallery, one of my favourite places in the city.

It’s one of my favourite places actually not so much because of the actual art that’s in it – although the changing exhibitions are always great – but for the building itself. I love the blend of old and new, the beautiful stone with the steel and glass.

It was an absolute pleasure to spend a few hours here in the peaceful still – it was very quiet and so I felt almost as though I had the whole place to myself.

Anthony Gormley’s ‘Filter’ sculpture floats above as you head up to the changing exhibition spaces on the top floor.

The current exhibition is by Sonia Boyce, which was very striking, set as it is in a vast, dark room which spectacularly illuminates the black and white photography.

And then into the Design Gallery to see the beautiful clothes.

Manchester Art Gallery, like the fabulous Whitworth down the road, has significantly upped it’s café game. Mary Ellen McTague now runs the Gallery Café and it’s a lovely place to stop off, eating and drinking surrounded by art from the gallery on the walls.

I had the confit Jeruselum artichoke with purple sprouting broccoli, radish, samphire and toasted sunflower seeds which was both delicious and great value at £8. As you would expect, the focus is on a small menu with two starters, two salads and two mains offered at lunch and dinner. And then there is the toastie selection – the Gallery is leading a toastie revival (although it’s never gone away in my mind, melted cheese is one of life’s pleasures!) as well as homemade cakes and sandwiches.

Mary Ellen also pioneered the Real Junk Food Project in Manchester.  Here, it means that kids food is on a pay-as-you-feel basis, to provide a more affordable option to bring the kids and still have good food. Much improved from the usual nuggets and chips offering.

And of course no visit to a gallery is complete without stopping off at the gift shop.

A beautiful way to spend a beautiful evening.

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