Paradise Works: Salford’s hidden studio exhibiting at this year’s Manchester Art Fair

Set in a former abandoned mill, Paradise Works houses more than 40 artist studios

By Ben Arnold | 23 October 2023

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Just a few minutes from the city centre – and a hop over the Irwell into Salford – is another world. A world of fizzing creativity and pure artistic inspiration.

Paradise Works used to be a former mill, abandoned until 2017, when it was taken on by a group of contemporary artists and artist collectives.

Now it’s home to more than 40 studios and gallery spaces spread over three stories. 

With a constant revolving door of exhibitions, the space has a different show on every six to eight weeks, as well as open studio events for the public to come and check out the new work from artists inhabiting this hive of artistic industry.

“Not many people know we’re here,” says Jess Bennett, Paradise Works director.

“Post pandemic, and what we all went through, we’ve seen a lot of local artists having to move out of the city centre, so I think it’s very important that they have a community right in the heart of the city.”

Many of the artists of Paradise Works will also be exhibiting at the Manchester Art Fair, specifically in The Manchester Contemporary section of the annual event which is supported by Arts Council England and has a focus on emerging and mid-career contemporary artists and galleries.

Paradise Works

Among those exhibiting from Paradise Works will be Gwen Evans, Jack Brown, Jeffrey Knopf, Mike&Sian and Alex Frost.

“The Manchester art scene is great, we’re all very supportive of each other, and we all give 

each other an uplift, and it’s moments like The Manchester Contemporary art fair that are so important for that,” says Jess.

“It showcases that more than any other art fair. Rather than it just being commercial galleries, it is about the local art scene as well, and giving us a platform.”

Paradise Works

She goes on: “It’s why the art fair is there, it gives a platform for spaces like this. We’re doing the closing party this year, and we’re going to have so much fun.

“We’ll have full open studios, we’ve got two exhibitions opening, and we’re going to throw a big party.”

The 2023 Manchester Art Fair and The Manchester Contemporary run from November 17 to 19 at Manchester Central, and will feature 140 exhibitors from the UK and worldwide, ranging from painting, prints and sculpture to photography.

You can grab tickets for this year’s event here…