The Cornerhouse, situated on the top corner of Oxford Road next to Oxford Road Station, is one of Manchester’s most buzzing creative hubs, offering work from artists, publishers and independent filmmakers alike. This cultural hotspot has three cinema screens, along with 3 floors of gallery space showing the best of local and international contemporary art. The Cornerhouse has also certainly succeeded in merging arts and culture with relaxation and socialising by having a lively cafe and bar on its first floor, which is always bustling with both locals and tourists. There is also a shop on the ground floor selling art books and publications, which additionally serves as an international distribution service.
The Cornerhouse opened its door to creative individuals in the mid 80’s, and has remained at the centre of alternative and contemporary arts from the word go. This artistic Mecca even has internationally-renowned artist Damien Hirst as one of its patrons! On the gallery side, the venue welcomes both up-and-coming and established artists, often providing individuals with the opportunity for first-time solo exhibitions, or brand new commissions especially for the Cornerhouse.
With several important galleries residing in Manchester, the Cornerhouse does well to maintain such a strong and diverse visual arts programme, despite being a slightly smaller venue than some others. Its exhibitions are open to all kinds of media, from sculpture, to painting, to large scale installations, to (especially) film. The flagship cinema at the Cornerhouse has a wide and varied film programme, showing a range of productions including foreign films, brand new independents, animations, re-releases, avant-garde pictures, and many more. They even run two of their very own film festivals every year, known as ‘¡Viva! Spanish and Latin American Film Festival,’ and ‘Exposures: New Talent in Moving Image.’
Both the cinema and gallery spaces at the Cornerhouse provide a platform for new artistic talent, which is what makes it such an important cultural hub in Manchester. The people there also understand the importance of learning within the arts sector, and so provide everything from art courses to curator-led tours of each exhibition.
Earlier this year the Cornerhouse and Manchester’s Library Theatre in St. Peter’s Square decided to merge, in the hope of creating a new cultural organisation for the arts. This amalgamation will have its very own building by 2014 in Manchester’s First Street area, creating a new home for various artistic platforms. This will hopefully open many doors for the Cornerhouse, allowing it not only more space but the opportunity to build a new identity.
Always at the epicentre of innovative artistic thinking, the Cornerhouse believes it will become more dynamic than ever after its move to First Street, and will continue its duty in serving Manchester and the rest of the world a vibrant selection of visual arts.by Liz Buckley
Image Courtesy: Press Office, Cornerhouse