The exhibition, curated by artist Grayson Perry, as a spin-off of his TV show “Grayson’s Art Club”, which the public loved during the lockdown last year, has helped the Manchester Art Gallery attendance levels back to previous levels to bring the pandemic.

The exhibition, which includes works by the artist himself as well as contributions from the country’s armchair artists who welcomed the weekly call for artistic creations from award-winning artist Perry, was the inaugural exhibition when the gallery reopened its doors earlier this year.

Originally opened on November 25th last year, it wasn’t until May of this year that visitors were finally able to enter the gallery and see the exhibition for themselves after the gallery came into play as part of national Covid restrictions that only came into play days before the exhibition opened.

Only one week before closing on October 31, all temporary visitor slots for the exhibition are sold out, but it is still possible to see the highlights of the exhibition online via a virtual tour on the gallery’s website here.

Since reopening in May, the gallery has welcomed nearly 199,000 visitors (198,475 actual number) through its doors, despite social distancing measures to limit the number of visitors inside the building at one time.

Proportionally, taking into account the currently reduced opening times of the gallery and the reduced total opening times, this number corresponds to the number of visitors to the gallery before the first closure was imposed in March 2020.

The past few months have also seen times when visitor numbers have surpassed pre-pandemic numbers. Last Saturday (October 16), 3176 people in particular visited the gallery – that is around 140% of the average number of visitors on a Saturday before Covid.

The surge in visitor numbers to the gallery’s showrooms has also meant that the gallery shop and cafe have benefited from increased trading since reopening – which has helped generate much-needed additional revenue after all those months of lockdown.

The items on offer in the shop related to the Art Club exhibit are so popular that staff had to regularly create online waiting lists to notify gallery visitors when they were back in stock. Among them was the much sought-after Grayson Perry tea towel, which proved to be a huge hit of the season and was the best-seller among galleries, and usually sold out within a few days of new deliveries.

The gallery café also helped entice visitors with a delicious new seasonal menu of delicious cakes and freshly made dishes, put together by new Executive Chef Adam Leavy, a previous MasterChef: The Professionals finalist. With a strong focus on sustainability, seasonality, local and ethical products, the kitchen creates delicious dishes that have a positive impact on the environment.


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