Venture Arts at The Manchester Contemporary | Stand 114 | Barry Anthony Finan and Leslie Thompson

Venture Arts invite visitors to engage with artists, academics, curators and experts to explore the emergent positioning of learning disabled artists.

Venture Arts at The Manchester Contemporary | Stand 114 | Barry Anthony Finan and Leslie Thompson


This year Venture Arts, a progressive visual art organisation working with learning disabled artists based in Hulme, Manchester, will highlight two of it’s most prominent Manchester based artists, Barry Anthony Finan and Leslie Thompson.


Through visual performance and a programme of open discussions with curators, academics and artists, Venture Arts’ aim to instigate lively debate and conversations about the emergent positioning of learning disabled artists within the contemporary art world today.


Artworks for sale will include two new large-scale pieces that will be created in tandem throughout the duration of the fair. This will allow visitors the opportunity to meet the artists and gain insight into the creative process of the evolving works and participate in visual and verbal dialogues. A series of both Finan’s WRRIGHHTINNGSS and Thompson’s illustrations of animals from memory will also be on display.

Venture Arts Return to The Manchester Contemporary | 11-13 October 2019 1 Leslie Thompson, Humpback Camel, 2019

The work of Finan and Thompson often involves sharing viewpoints on life through visual performance. Whether through happenings in shop windows, documenting conferences, creating new work at events and exhibitions previews, the presence of curious onlookers in the public realm aims to open up new languages, ideas and identities.


Venture Arts Collective Conversations at The Manchester Contemporary | Programme so far


We invite you to join us for some informal discussions with some great people we work with. All about the work of learning disabled artists placed at the heart of the Contemporary Art World.


Friday 11th October – all evening

Talk about Manchester based art studio Venture Arts with a range of people, artists and volunteers who work there.

Meet the artists.


Saturday 12th October 10.30 am.

Venture Arts Artist James Desser will be joining us to talk about his experiences working on a collaborative 6 artist residency – Conversations Series II – Other Transmissions, now showing at New Adelphi Building, The University of Salford. He will also talk about his experience of co-curating our stand at the Manchester contemporary two years ago.


Saturday 12th October 2.30 pm

Anne Marie Atkinson, PhD student at MMU with VC Scholarship (2018 – 2021), will talk about her research project: ‘ Challenging Outsider Art: How are learning disabled artists informing contemporary art?’ She will outline her work so far, particularly in relation to the contexts of disability studies, collaborative and socially engaged art practices, and the emerging phenomenon of supported studios repositioning their work within a contemporary art context.


Sunday 13th October 11.00 am

We will be talking to the two artists showing with Venture Arts this year : Barry Anthony Finan and Leslie Thompson about their work and experience.


Sunday 13th October 1.30pm

We are delighted to invite Helen Wewiora, Director, Castlefield Gallery to come and have a chat about Castlefield’s involvement with Venture Arts studio projects; past, present and future and Castlefield Galleries’ integral role within Manchester in supporting artists and pioneering new ways of thinking about and seeing art.​




Find out more about The Manchester Contemporary and our exhibition this year: