150th Anniversary – A Retrospective Summary

150th Anniversary News & Events

In 2009 and 2010 M.A.F.A. celebrated its 150th Anniversary. In this section of our website you can see an archive of the celebratory events that marked this historic time.

Website news

As part of our celebrations in October 2010 we launched our new website. The website now includes many new features including a News Page , links to YouTube and interviews with M.A.F.A. members about their practice. We hope this will be helpful, informative and interesting to anyone who would like to know more about our members and how they produce their work.


Virginia Tandy Opening the 150th Celebrations Virginia Tandy Opening the 150th Celebrations

The year started off with a very successful exhibition at the Portico Gallery, Manchester, which was officially opened by Virginia Tandy, the Director of Manchester City Art Galleries, and President of the Museums Association. Virginia Tandy wished the Academy every success for the future and especially in their 150th year, and she praised the new programme of taking M.A.F.A. exhibitions to a wider audience throughout the North West.

The HeArt of the North

Ashton-Under- Lyne Central Art Gallery

Exhibition ran from the 28th of August 2009 until 31st of October 2009.

Opening times:
Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday: 1p.m. to 7.30p.m.
Saturday: 9.30 a.m. to 12.30p.m. 1p.m. to 4p.m.
Sunday, Monday: Closed.

Manchester Cathedral

Preview at Manchester Cathedral

This pinnacle 150th anniversary event was a combined Thanksgiving Service and Exhibition in Manchester Cathedral on Saturday 14th November. The Service was led by Canon Andrew Shanks and the readings, prayers and hymns were chosen and read by Members of the Academy. The Preview of the exhibition, which immediately followed the Service, was well attended by members of the congregation which included Michael Oglesby, Vice Lord Lieutenant of Greater Manchester, who formally opened the exhibition. Also the Lord Mayor of Manchester Councillor Alison Firth; the Mayor of Salford Councillor Roger Lightup and his Mayoress, Mrs Valarie Fleet; the Mayor of Oldham Councillor Jim McArdle and the Oldham Youth Mayor Mohammad Adil and Sir Richard Leese, Leader of Manchester City Council. The exhibition ran until 28th November 2009.

montage of Manchester Academy's 150th celebrations event

Selected images from the Manchester Cathedral event.


History Book Presented in Celebration of 150 Years

Copies of The Story So Far: The Manchester Academy of Fine Arts from 1859 to 2003 written by MAFA archivist Shiela Dewsbury have been presented to libraries and individuals as part of the 150th anniversary celebrations. Each book has a commemorative book plate designed and printed by MAFA member Philip Withersby.

In excess of forty copies of The Story So Far have been presented to both Local Studies and Central libraries in each of the ten Greater Manchester Authorities and are now available for public reference. The book makes full use of the treasure trove of information held in the Academy archives and provides a comprehensive survey of art and artists in the north of England from the Victorian era to the twenty-first century.

Features and Articles

To coincide with the 150th anniversary of Manchester Academy of Fine Arts, articles and images of members’ work have been published in the following magazines and newspapers:

  • Artists and Illustrators
  • The Jackdaw (March/April)
  • Lancashire Magazine (April)
  • The Portico Library Quarterly (April/June)
  • City Life/Manchester Evening News
  • Leisure Painter (August)
  • Art of England (July)
  • The Jackdaw (September/October)

The Big Screen Manchester

Exchange Square on the Triangle

Screening times:
28th March to 10th April 2009
30th May to 12th June
13th June to 26th June


Category: News