Experience, Aquire, Collect.
Leigh is well know for its arty tendencies, with a growing number of galleries popping up around town. For those not already well acquainted with them, they can seem a little intimidating, but this is a myth that Francesca Genovese, director of Francesca Maffeo Gallery, is keen to dispel. In reality, Francesca Maffeo Gallery is much more than a viewing platform for the photography work of the artists that it represents. Aside from the public exhibition programme, the gallery hosts events and workshops that members of the public, professional photographers and photography students alike can enjoy.
Francesca says, “The events programme can range from ‘meet the artist’ events to artists talking in conversation with curators or other editors. For example, for our next exhibition we have the artist in conversation with a writer for the British Journal of Photography.”
The artist in question is Alexander Missen, whose work will be showing from the 9th September to the 28th October. His exhibition ‘Q&A’ will include over seventy images exploring iconic American motifs and how they relate to the reality of American life. The quality and depth of Missen’s work is representative of the high standard of award winning photography that the gallery showcases, from both national and international artists.
Francesca says, “I wanted the gallery to feel like a London gallery and to have that level of work but, at the same time, for it to feel welcoming and have a social space. People don’t have to wander in, have a quick look and walk out. For example, in October we are launching a ‘photo social’. It’s an evening event for the local community, where local photographers and artists can come together and share ideas. Not everyone can afford a one to one, or a portfolio review, but they need that space to talk about their work with other people. Especially if you’re working in photography, it can be really kind of lonely sometimes.”
For those looking to expand their photography knowledge, the gallery provides plenty of opportunities – from guided exhibition tours to professional development and technical workshops, there is much to be gained from its growing educational programme. There is even a reference library-come-bookshop that visitors can make use of at their leisure.
Of course there is a commercial element to the gallery too, all of the work on display is for sale. Yet even here, there is no pretence, Francesca says, “Within the print room there are loads of print boxes with work that you can buy and take away on the day. We do have more expensive prints but there is also work that can be purchased for under £200. We deal in limited edition photographs from both established and emerging photographers, so there is something for everyone.”
Even the gallery itself is available for hire. Photographers can’t hire it to put on their own shows, but the beautiful creative space can be used for launch parties, events and business meetings.
There’s really no need to be shy, Francesca Maffeo Gallery is a hidden gem of a community space and it’s ready to welcome you in.
Alexander Missen Q&A
9th September – 28th October 2017
Alexander Missen in Conversation with Gemma Padley
Saturday 7th October 2017 2.00-5.00pm
Matthew Finn Mother
4th November – 23rd December 2017