Art auction secures Castlefield Gallery future

Liam Spencer's Deansgate and Whitworth Street at Twilight Liam Spencer's Deansgate and Whitworth Street at Twilight raised £6,000

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The success of an auction has "gone a long way" to saving a Manchester gallery threatened with closure by lack of funds, organisers have said.

Turner Prize winner Mark Leckey and comedian Harry Hill donated works for the sale at the Castlefield Gallery, which raised £32,350.

The gallery held the sale to cover a funding shortfall after the Arts Council withdrew its financial support.

Director Kwong Lee said it had given "great encouragement" for the future.

Sixty-eight artworks were donated by 62 artists for the auction, which took place on Wednesday 30 May.

Manchester artist Liam Spencer's work, Deansgate and Whitworth Street at Twilight, raised the highest figure, selling for £6,000.

Mr Lee, who said before the sale that £20,000 was needed to "fill the funding gap", said the auction had "rediscovered the entrepreneurial spirit that started Castlefield Gallery in 1984".

People viewing work in the Castlefield Gallery Organisers said "artists and art lovers" had attended the sale

He said the gallery had originally been set up as a place "to showcase emerging contemporary artists [and] the auction has demonstrated how the various generations of artists continue to value its impact on the art scene in Manchester".

"It has also given us great encouragement to see Manchester's collectors out in force in support and buying work by so many Manchester and UK artists," he said.

Artist Hilary Jack, whose work Racquet was sold in the auction, said the gallery had "played a crucial role at all levels in my career as an independent artist and as co-curator".

"The gallery has provided the cultural and educational backdrop to the region's burgeoning art scene, while playing an important and respected role in the UK's cultural landscape," she said.

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