Sports, leisure and the Arts COVID-19 update for museums, galleries and culture

Manchester Art Gallery is closed

During the COVID-19 restrictions Manchester Art Gallery is closed. However, many activities and collections are still available online.

While the physical galleries have necessarily been closed to the public, staff are working behind the scenes to take its collections, community programmes, wellbeing activities and education work into people’s homes using available technology.

Read about help available and our service changes in response to COVID-19.

Supporting the culture sector

In March 2020, the lights were dimmed on Manchester’s Arts and Culture sector, with theatres, libraries, museums and arts centres being amongst the first to close their doors to the public at the start of the pandemic.

Although some have since reopened in a Covid-secure way, there is still a long way to go. The future is uncertain for many organisations and the freelancers who work with them. If you are a freelancer in the creative and cultural sector find out if you are eligible for a grant through the Cultural Hardship Fund for Freelancers

Behind the scenes we have been working with partners across the city on a proactive programme of work to support the culture sector and ensure that it has a sustainable future and continues to be at the heart of Manchester, and the rebuilding of our economy. 

So far this has involved:

  • Development of a culture recovery plan for the city
  • Keeping residents informed about online events and activities provided by cultural partners during lockdown through the Allsorts To Do At Home campaign
  • Letters to Government on behalf of the city highlighting the value of arts and culture, it’s key role in the city’s economic recovery and requesting funding packages to support the recovery plan.
  • Consultation and engagement with the sector to understand the impact and support discussions at a national level
  • Regular advice for cultural partners on funding opportunities available
  • One to one support for Culture Recovery Fund applications from the council’s Work and Skills team
  • One to one advice for organisations on how to access all available grant schemes
  • Music sector specific briefing on Emergency Grassroots Music Venues Funding

Long term plan

There is a long term plan for a programme of events, projects and interventions across the city which will support the recovery of our communities and neighbourhoods, and build a sustained message that the city is open and embracing the future.

To request a copy of the Culture Recovery Plan, email

You can read more information in this scrutiny report

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