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How is Manchester integrating art in the city centre?

MCR bee wall art
Photo by Chris Curry

If you spend a day in Manchester, you will quickly see how much the city has remodelled its industrial past into a new and trendy present. Manchester is home to some of the best art, in terms of both street art and exhibitions. Here's a look at some of our favourites.

Reviving Historical Places

Manchester is a city that recognises its history while still evolving to be part of a more diverse and creative future. The Science & Industry Museum, located in the former Liverpool Road railway station, is an example of this. It shows the rich industrial heritage of Manchester, giving the public some of the most exciting exhibits to explore.

Similarly, the Royal Exchange Theatre was formerly a trade hall but is now a thriving cultural venue. You've also got places like the Manchester Art Gallery and the Whitworth displaying the city's wealth from post-industrialisation and its cultural significance through arts and textile collections. There is so much incredible art to explore here.

Showing off the Sporting Scene

With Man City having a Champions League title under their belt, we can’t not talk about the sport-inspired murals that echo this city’s love for football. Just a couple of years ago, a popular street artist left people in Bury, Greater Manchester, speechless with a mural honouring the city’s best football legends from both the Blue and Red sides. With stunning depictions of Eric Cantona, Colin Bell, Sergio Aguero, and George Best, this mural has become a sporting hotspot, with hundreds of people coming to visit and take selfies.

Football, of course, is one of this country’s biggest passions. Any time Manchester City or United is playing, it’s easy to find people heading down to Etihad Stadium or Old Trafford, talking stats with locals in the Director’s Box, or discussing odds in local sports venues. Man City in particular have been generating a huge amount of buzz for almost a decade now, with the odds at BetMGM UK stacked against any team that faces them, causing ripples across domestic and continental competitions. While their successful history is kept to the recent past, they also have ex-players like Nedum Onuoha forging impressive post-football careers, reflecting on their time at City.

Without a doubt, football is a staple of this city, and the street art reflects that. As the sport continues to grow more popular, we can’t wait to see more examples popping up.

The Quays: A Cultural Renaissance

The Quays – now home to MediaCityUK, Europe's largest media hub – demonstrate how Manchester is experiencing a cultural renaissance. In just over 100 years, this area has shifted from being known as the UK's busiest industrial dock to a forward-looking 21st-century centre for culture. Key spots of this process are represented by The Lowry, which is visited more than any other place by tourists in Manchester, and the IWM North National Museum.

These places are full of exciting exhibitions and performances, attracting global tourists.

The Largest Public Artwork Unveiled in the City Centre

Printworks recently revealed public artwork covering an impressive 210 square metres, making it the largest in Manchester yet at almost two stories high. On January 25th, it became public with well-known sights like Manchester City Football Club and those representing Greater London Authorities, namely the Town Hall, Gotham Hotel, Ancoats Marina, John Ryland Library, and Printworks itself.

The artwork is a tribute to Manchester's history, featuring the suffragette movement, the LGBTQ+ community, and elements of iconic sports and music. At its base are three diagonal lines, which start with blooming floral images that are essential motifs in the city's coat of arms. The central column of flowers is upheld by the Manchester people's hands, symbolising diversity.

This narrative about Manchester speaks through the language of flowers and colours, with sunflowers indicating Alan Turing's early research, purple flowers encoding women's suffrage movements, and rainbow hues standing for the LGTBQ+ community. Above these blossoms is a strong lineage from print work, referring back to the history of Printworks and many other buildings in the town.

Celebrating Manchester's Identity

Public art plays a massive role in celebrating Manchester's identity. It's synonymous with football and home to world-class collections at the National Football Museum that pay homage to this heritage.

All of this conveys Manchester's identity perfectly. If you think about Manchester, you think about music, colours, and vibrancy. It's a bustling city with so much going on and so much culture still running through its core.

Manchester integrates art into its city centre through endless avenues. You'll see it everywhere you go, and you'll probably fall in love with all of it. Manchester’s art truly brings the city to life. The dynamic range of arts offered in the city helps Manchester live up to its reputation as an inspiring place to live or visit.


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