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Set in a beautiful Edwardian building, Grundy Art Gallery is a free contemporary art space in the heart of Blackpool town centre. Exhibitions change every 2-3 months, and are complemented by a diverse programme of talks, events and workshops.

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New Light Programme at the Grundy thanks to a Prestigious Award

Blackpool Council’s Grundy Art Gallery has been awarded £80,000 by the Art Fund to buy new artworks around the theme of light.

Grundy Art Gallery Blackpool

The Award is part of the Art Fund’s £400,000 ‘New Collecting Awards’ programme which this year saw six awards given to museums around the British Isles.

The £80,000 award to Grundy Curator Richard Parry was the joint highest sum, with the same amount going to curators at the Royal Pavilion in Brighton and at the National Galleries of Scotland in Edinburgh.

The idea of the awards is to invest in the development of promising curators at early points in their careers across the UK. Through the scheme, museum professionals are each given a budget to pursue a completely new avenue of collecting in their institutions.

Exhibition at Grundy Art Gallery

Five out of six of the awards were presented to support contemporary art collecting. The scheme not only benefits the museums’ collections, but helps the curators to learn at first-hand about the process of making great acquisitions, and contribute significantly to their professional development.

The award follows in the wake of the success of ‘Sensory Systems’, the widely praised exhibition which saw international artists display spectacular works exploring the connection between light and sensory perception this autumn, to coincide with the Illuminations.

The award is a significant boost for the gallery, which has seen a doubling of audiences through the light strand of its programming and follows a further award from the John Ellerman Foundation, supporting new work with the collection, which has enabled important behind-the-scenes improvements including the employment of a new Collections Manager.

Curator Richard Parry said: “For 2016 we are having a year-round focus on our collections, starting with our current Ben Cain exhibition which is inspired by paintings from the collection, and going right through into at least 2017. This award couldn’t come at a better time and means that for the first time since before the War the gallery has a substantial amount to buy new artworks, allowing us to develop our new strand of work around light.”

“Blackpool is in many ways the ‘home’ of light in the UK because of the Illuminations, and this is a huge endorsement of the cultural significance of light in the town. Nowhere in the country currently focusses on light in this way and we’ve seen a fantastic response to the exhibition Sensory Systems which has shown there is an appetite for international artwork of this kind here.

“Although light is only one part of the gallery’s work, there is an ambition to make the Grundy nationally recognised for it, and that’s starting to happen already through this award.”

Cllr Vikki Singleton, Lead for Arts at Blackpool Council added: “In this day and age, we need to continually push forward the gallery, to make it remain fresh and new for everybody who chooses to visit.

“We’ve managed to do that by commissioning new exhibitions and, especially this year, getting artists to reimagine our current collection. Being able to add further to that collection will be a big boost and I’m really looking forward to some of the exciting new pieces that we’ll be able to explore.”

Stephen Deuchar, director of the Art Fund, said: “Following on from the unprecedented success of the first round, we were able to unlock a further £100,000 of funding for the scheme’s second round. This means we are able to support even more generously some of the UK’s brightest early-career curators. I look forward to seeing how these six innovative and pioneering projects unfold, further confirming the importance of developing and supporting curatorship.”

The full list of awards are to Julie-Ann Delaney, Curator at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art (SNGMA), Edinburgh; Jenny Lund, Curator of Fine Art at Royal Pavilion & Museums (RPM), Brighton & Hove; Rebecca Newell, Curator at the National Army Museum, London; Mark Elliott, Curator for Anthropology at the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology (MAA), Cambridge and Thomas Hockenhull, Curator: Modern Money, Department of Coins and Medals at the British Museum, London.

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More about Grundy Art Gallery

Grundy Art Gallery is Blackpool’s art gallery and offers a year round programme of contemporary and visual art exhibitions and events including solo and group exhibitions together with talks, workshops and educational activities.

The gallery is housed in a Grade II listed Carnegie building and houses a collection that was created in 1908, following a bequest by brothers John and Cuthbert Grundy. Today the collection includes works by Ruth Claxton, Martin Creed, Laura Ford, Gilbert and George, Brian Griffiths, Augustus John, Haroon Mirza and Eric Ravilious.

The Grundy Art Gallery was founded in 1911 by the brothers John and Cuthbert Grundy, and has been at the centre of cultural and artistic life in the town for over 100 years. It began with the ambition to show the best art of the day to the people of Blackpool, and this sentiment remains at the heart of what we do today as a leading contemporary art gallery in the North West.

The Grundy aims to inspire audiences through an ambitious and varied year-round exhibitions programme that draws on the unique and invigorating context and heritage of Blackpool, for instance exploring the space between contemporary art, entertainment and popular culture.

Recent exhibitions have featured works by celebrated and critically acclaimed artists including Martin Creed, Brian Griffiths, David Hockney, Pierre Huyghe, Heather Phillipson, Susan Philipsz and Matt Stokes. The gallery has a growing national and international profile and has recently worked with key partners such as LeftCoast in Blackpool, and other institutions such as BALTIC, the British Council and the Hayward Gallery.

The Grundy provides a key space for residents and visitors in which new ideas and ways of imagining the world can be tested and explored, and where resonant encounters can occur between art and audiences. We undertake special programmes tailored for individuals and groups including schoolchildren, young people, families and senior citizens, enabling people of all ages the chance to engage with and discover for themselves the art on display and the imaginations behind them.

Our exhibitions and displays frequently incorporate pieces from our collection, which was started with a bequest by the founding brothers and contains an eclectic range of art and other items from furniture to ceramics, to netsuke ornaments to Victorian oil paintings. Artists include Craigie Aitchison, Ruth Claxton, Martin Creed, Laura Ford, Augustus John, Eric Ravilious and Gilbert and George amongst others.

Grundy is part of Blackpool Council's Arts Service, which develops and delivers arts projects which engage Blackpool's residents, communities and visitors in the arts, supports the town's arts community, placing the arts the core of Blackpool's unique and important cultural environment.

The gallery is an Accredited Museum and also receives funding from Arts Council England as a National Portfolio Organisation and from the John Ellerman Foundation.



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Grundy Art Gallery

Queen Street
Blackpool
Lancashire
FY1 1PU


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New season of exhibitions opens at Grundy 

With spring arriving, the Grundy Art Gallery’s next two exhibitions include an LGBTQ film and photography focus, as well as a chance for visitors to operate virtual reality and computerised ‘reading machines’.

Prime Time

Prime Time is the title of a new film commission and first major solo exhibition by the artist Rob Crosse.

Prime Time Exhibition from Rob Crosse at Grundy Gallery Blackpool

Through his films and photographs, Crosse studies the collective and private behaviour within organised social groups made up predominantly of men. Crosse spends long periods of time with the participants who become the eventual subjects of his work.

The exhibition is named after his latest film Prime Time which premieres in Blackpool.

Commissioned by Film and Video Umbrella, an organisation which commissions, curates and produces artists' work with the moving image, the film focuses on a group of older gay men who are part of a social society called ‘Prime Timers’ as they undertake an organised cruise.

The filming of the ship’s journey as it heads towards the horizon becomes an allegory for desire and the progress of time, something which everyone can relate to.

Crosse will show three films in total, as well as a new body of photography work. He has also selected works from the Grundy’s collection to display in an adjoining gallery, inspired by aspects of his work.

The exhibition coincides with the fiftieth anniversary of the decriminalisation of homosexuality in England and Wales. 

Torque: Re-learning to Read

In a further exhibition taking place in the foyer and upstairs galleries, the Grundy have invited Liverpool-based artist collective Torque (Sam Skinner and Nathan Jones) to curate a show on the subject of how we read in a digital age.

Torque: Re-learning to Read at Grundy Gallery Blackpool

Torque: Re-learning to Read involves interactive installations, videos and wall works which ask the question how we might all re-learn to read in an era of social media, emojis and speed reading apps.

Visitors are invited to bring their own books or borrow books from the library to use on a newly commissioned "reading machine", developed in collaboration with artist Tom Schofield, which will be in the foyer of the gallery.

This machine will combine scanners, screens and sculpture to create a radically new human-computer reading experience.

The exhibition also includes works by artists Erica Scourti, Nicolas Malevé, Emily Speed and Anna Barham and will involve hand-made flip books, VR-headset poems, and further digital artworks.

Cllr Luke Taylor, Lead Member for Arts on Blackpool Council, said: “Once again, the Grundy will be displaying two exciting and diverse exhibitions for both the local community and visitors alike.

“The importance of the Prime Time exhibition will be given extra emphasis as 2017 marks the fiftieth anniversary of the decriminalisation of homosexuality in England and Wales. Everyone is welcome to attend.

“The interactive exhibition by Torque promises a fun experience for everyone who visits the Gallery with the reading machine challenging people’s expectations of reading. We are hoping that families and library users will enjoy the experience as well as visitors to the Grundy.”

Rob Crosse: Prime Time opens 2.30pm on Saturday 1 April and runs until 3 June.
Torque: Re-learning to Read runs from 1 April until 13 May 2017.

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Grundy hosts over 400 Blackpool and Fylde artists

Almost 450 artists and schoolchildren from the Blackpool and Fylde Coast showed why the Grundy is Blackpool’s art gallery and a key civic host to the local creative community.

2017 began with the gallery lifting the lid on artistic production in Blackpool and the Fylde Coast with a call for residents to enter the open submission exhibition.

Grundy local artists open submission exhibition

Blackpool Art Fayre at Grundy Art Gallery

Following hot on the heels of one the gallery’s most successful exhibitions to date: ‘NEON: The Charged Line’, which was visited 12,000 times and had people travelling from across the UK, the gallery showed a tour de force of art from the along the Fylde Coast, allowing visitors to see the broad range of artistic talent bubbling away in the region.

Five exhibitions in one

The Blackpool Art Fayre included five separate exhibitions in one. The first is the ‘Blackpool Open’, in which any artist currently making work in the local area was invited to participate.

Next an exhibition staged by the Blackpool Art Society, which has a history dating back over 130 years  and is one of the oldest such societies in the country.

For the third exhibition the Grundy invited artists from one of Blackpool’s newest arts organisations, Abingdon Studios, which is already establishing a growing reputation in the North West and across the UK through its exhibitions, studios and support for emerging and established artists living and working in the local area.

Over 300 youngsters involved

The fourth, and one of the largest parts of the Fayre, was a major exhibition produced by 13 school and community groups from around Blackpool. Over 300 schoolchildren and young people created new drawings inspired by Blackpool’s Illuminations Archive and the history in the town. Blackpool was one of the first in the UK to utilise this new light technology in the 1930s.

The Grundy facilitated workshops and drawing activities asking the young people to make their own versions of the original early drawings and designs for neon artworks. The incredibly diverse and creative results were given their own gallery within Blackpool Art Fayre.

Old Favourites

The final part of the Blackpool Art Fayre included two exhibitions using the Grundy’s permanent art collection. The first assembled ‘Old Favourites’ and the second brought together new artworks that have been acquired in the last few years, in particular surrounding its new strand of collecting light-based artworks recognising the town’s history with light.

This was a starting point for the Grundy’s recent acquisition of a key neon work by leading British artist Tracey Emin – the first purchase the gallery has made using an award by national charity the Art Fund to specifically buy light-based artwork by international artists. The gallery was awarded £80,000 by the charity, alongside similar awards to the British Museum and National Galleries of Scotland as part of their ‘New Collecting Awards’.

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Neon's a hit as latest Grundy exhibit tops 12,000 visits

The Grundy Art Gallery has had one of its most successful exhibitions to date with NEON: The Charged Line.

Neon the Charged Line - exhibition at Grundy Art Gallery

The exhibition, which featured artwork from worldwide acclaimed artists such as Tracey Emin, Joseph Kosuth and Francois Morellet, formed an integral part of last year’s LightPool festival and is estimated to have attracted around 12,000 visitors in to the gallery over the course of its 18 week run.

NEON: The Charged Line ran from 1 September 2016 up until 7 January this year, enticing visitors from across the UK with its celebration of 38 neon artworks from around the world hosted inside the Edwardian gallery.

Artists included Joseph Kosuth, Tracey Emin and Francois Morellet, who was a significant early practitioner from Paris, experimenting with neon since the 1960s but who passed away earlier in 2016. Morellet’s work has not been widely exhibited in the UK and the exhibition in Blackpool afforded a rare opportunity to experience some of his most celebrated works.

The Grundy also commissioned several outdoor works from artists including Tim Etchells and Paulina Olowska which brought the exhibition out onto the streets of Blackpool. Alongside the main exhibition, the gallery also staged an exhibition in its Rotunda of drawings from the Blackpool Illuminations Archive. These beautiful Art Deco designs dated back to the early 1930s and to a time when Blackpool was just starting to establish its pioneering name within the history of light and neon. NEON was a key part of ‘LightPool’, which also included projections on the tower and the ‘LightPool Festival’ in October.

The exhibition was funded by money from a Coastal Communities Fund grant awarded to Blackpool towards the Illuminations.

As well as tourists and residents visiting, the gallery also saw visits by upwards of 800 young people from school and youth groups. The exhibition was the second exhibition of light-based art, forming part of the Grundy’s ongoing Light Programme exhibiting international light works and build on Blackpool’s tradition and relationship with light and its world-famous Illuminations.

The Grundy launched its Light programme with 2015’s exhibition Sensory Systems which featured artists such as Angela Bulloch, Rafael Lozano-Hemmer and Anthony McCall. Sensory Systems attracted 7,000 visitors, with the neon exhibition almost doubling this figure.

The exhibition attracted international press and was featured in the Telegraph, the Guardian and on the BBC website. Curator Richard Parry spoke about the exhibition on BBC Radio 4’s Front Row and the exhibition was also featured in popular magazines and online formats including Wallpaper, World of Interiors and After Nyne. Press coverage for the exhibition across local, national and international channels is estimated received more than 10million hits. One Blackpool resident described to gallery staff how her cousin in Italy had found out about the exhibition, and audience research shows how people travelled from across the UK to see the exhibition, including as far away as Cornwall, Devon, London and Nottingham.

For over 100 years, the Grundy has played a vital and unique role in Blackpool’s arts, heritage and tourism offer and is the only municipal art gallery until Preston.

Research shows that many visits to the gallery are made by individuals who come specifically to Blackpool to visit or participate in the gallery’s exhibition programme and events. The gallery also encourages visitors to the town outside of the traditional tourist season and, during the season, invites people to venture beyond the usual beach and seaside amusements and explore further into the town.

After a four month run, NEON: The Charged Line is now closed.

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Key Emin artwork to form part of Grundy’s permanent collection

A key exhibit in one of Blackpool’s most successful art exhibitions in recent years has now been acquired as part of the Grundy Art Gallery’s permanent collection.

I Know I Know by Tracey Emin

‘I Know I Know I Know’ by Tracey Emin was displayed as part of the recent NEON: The Charged Line exhibition which ran from September last year until January.

The acquisition is the first made by the gallery using funding from the Art Fund’s New Collecting Award, their scheme that enables curators to pursue new avenues of collecting for their museums.  They granted curator Richard Parry £80,000 to purchase key artworks relating to light.

The work was recently displayed at the gallery in NEON: The Charged Line, a major success with both audiences and critics which traced how artists have worked with neon since the 1960s. The exhibition saw Emin alongside other stars including Joseph Kosuth, Fiona Banner, François Morellet and Keith Sonnier and coincided with Blackpool’s famous Illuminations’ LightPool project.

Emin, who is well known for her work with fabric, embroidery and installations including the notorious ‘My Bed’ which was displayed as part of the Turner Prize in 1999, has also established a reputation for her evocative and emotionally charged work in neon. The artwork the Grundy has purchased, titled ‘I Know I Know I Know’, is from 2002 and is one of the earliest works in neon undertaken by the celebrated artist of the so-called “young British artist” generation.

The acquisition marks the first purchase made possible through a New Collecting Award from Art Fund, and also sees additional support from the John Ellerman Foundation.

Over the past decade the Grundy has established a reputation as one of the North’s leading centres for contemporary visual art, undertaking ambitious exhibitions which explore the relationship between art and popular culture.

Through the light programme and the expansion of the light collection, the Grundy is looking to become a national centre for artists working in the medium, alongside its wider programme.

Emin’s work will be shown alongside other recently acquired artworks as part of the Blackpool Art Fayre.

The exhibition also includes works by internationally renowned artist Yinka Shonibare MBE and 2017 Fourth Plinth Nominee Heather Phillipson, as well as emerging and more established artists from across the North West and the wider UK.

All the works have been purchased with the assistance of external grants, awards and support. 

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A Memorable 2016

2016 was a memorable year for the Grundy Art Gallery. We saw:

- The collection hung and re-imagined by locally-based artists and makers
- An exhibition of collection paintings which also showed how we care for and restore the artworks
- Two exhibitions by Blackpool artists: Noel Clueit and Civic Photography
- Over 10,000 visits to the exhibition ‘NEON: The Charged Line’
- Over 1,200 schoolchildren who have been inspired to learn about literacy, numeracy, history and science through workshops engaging with our exhibitions across the year
- An major new exhibition by Turner Prize-winner Mark Leckey on the theme of Felix the Cat, prior to his other solo exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in New York
- Upwards of 40 volunteers who have worked with us to stage our exhibitions and help document the collection for a new database
- Significant national and international coverage including in The Telegraph, The Guardian, BBC, as well as popular magazines such as Wallpaper and After Nyne, alongside strong local and regional news and magazine features
- A major partnership with Visit Blackpool, the Illuminations and LeftCoast to creatively deliver LightPool and the LightPool Festival and transform the town centre

Thank you to everyone who has supported the gallery in the past 12 months and helped us to make these things happen.

 

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29th April 2017
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Still time to book for Torque - Manifestos for Relearning to Read Symposium. 6 May 11-5pm. @nathmercy @samwskinner https://t.co/wOXpLuXmyO https://t.co/hdFiqFprHE

 

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29th April 2017
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Coming up: Tour (20 May. 3-4pm) of our super new show of Shirley Baker's photography (20/05 - 19/08) with curator Anna Douglas. Free! https://t.co/4S3CmqhPRT

 

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Grundy Art Gallery
29th April 2017
Grundy Art Gallery shared a link

 

Coming up: Tour (20 May. 3-4pm) of our super new show of Shirley Baker's photography (20/05 - 19/08) with curator Anna Douglas. Free! https://t.co/4S3CmqhPRT

 

Get the whole picture - and other photos from Grundy Art Gallery

 

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28th April 2017
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Torque - Manifestos for Relearning to Read Symposium. 6 May 11-5pm. @nathmercy @samwskinner Booking via Eventbrite. https://t.co/fgXCftrhmy https://t.co/qxFJUHTmBG

 

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28th April 2017
Grundy Art Gallery updated their status

 

Our Education Officer will be presenting a workshop today for delegates @CuriousMindsNW #NWCulturalEd #cultural #education #Blackpool #art 🎨

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27th April 2017
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This weekend (29 April. 2pm) @TownerGallery - Garry Fabian Miller: Tracing Light. https://t.co/GKpYEyLD3G https://t.co/EzgK50MOqp

 

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20th April 2017
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Today is #VolunteerRecognitionDay & we definitely couldn't deliver the programme without the help of our fantastic volunteers. Thank you all! https://t.co/YSjrYyd0FB

 

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Grundy Art Gallery
20th April 2017
Grundy Art Gallery updated their status

 

Was nice to see so many people out in Blackpool for the @b_and_fc show last night. Great range of student work on display @emergeblackpool

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19th April 2017
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If you're in Leeds tonight @jennycsteele has an open studio as part of her @The_Tetley residency (6-8pm). https://t.co/Su5i3Q924h https://t.co/63Dme7ECoT

 

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Grundy Art Gallery
15th April 2017
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The galleries are open today as normal (10-5pm) with shows from Torque + Rob Crosse. Todays #EasterWeekend egg pic from @maeve_rendle https://t.co/upE4j1F9bQ

 

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29th April 2017
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Still time to book for Torque - Manifestos for Relearning to Read Symposium. 6 May 11-5pm. @nathmercy @samwskinnertwitter.com/i/web/status/8…

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29th April 2017
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Coming up: Tour (20 May. 3-4pm) of our super new show of Shirley Baker's photography (20/05 - 19/08) with curator A… twitter.com/i/web/status/8…

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28th April 2017
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Torque - Manifestos for Relearning to Read Symposium. 6 May 11-5pm. @nathmercy @samwskinner Booking via Eventbrite.… twitter.com/i/web/status/8…

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28th April 2017
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Artist #RobCrosse speaks to @AttitudeMag about his latest film 'Prime Time', showing @GrundyBlackpooltwitter.com/i/web/status/8…

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28th April 2017
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Our Education Officer will be presenting a workshop today for delegates @CuriousMindsNW #NWCulturalEd #cultural #education #Blackpool #art 🎨

Grundy Art Gallery
27th April 2017
Grundy Art Gallery GrundyBlackpool

 

This weekend (29 April. 2pm) @TownerGallery - Garry Fabian Miller: Tracing Light. townereastbourne.org.uk/event/garry-fa… pic.twitter.com/EzgK50MOqp

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26th April 2017
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Solo exhibition by #RobCrosse continues @GrundyBlackpool until 3 June #PrimeTime buff.ly/2peSSCb pic.twitter.com/IqwX3S8uPX

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26th April 2017
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Our submission area has now increased to 35 miles from Liverpool, so artists from Manchester, Blackpool, Preston et… twitter.com/i/web/status/8…

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24th April 2017
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•TETLEY ARTIST TAKEOVER • Hello, Jenny Steele @jennycsteele here. I have been… instagram.com/p/BTRdx_jljc_/

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24th April 2017
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Are you based in Blackpool? Head to @GrundyBlackpool for their fantastic Prime Time exhibition until June 3. grundyartgallery.com/programme/

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