The quirky outdoor art gallery taking over the ginnels of Old Trafford

The unusual cultural hub contains more than 100 works by over 80 artists, including professionals and local residents.

Art galleries can be found in quirky locations ranging from subterranean vaults and tunnels and old toilet blocks to disused police stations - and one Greater Manchester community is adding its name to the list by displaying dozens of works in back alleys.

The Back Gallery in Old Trafford has transformed the passageways between houses in a number of streets by putting art on the walls, with professionals’ work displayed alongside the creations of local residents. It’s all the brainchild of a local cultural group, which said it come up with the idea for the unusual outdoor art gallery as a way of combatting fly-tipping and other types of anti-social behaviour which can sometimes leave alleyways looking untidy and neglected.

What is The Back Gallery and what is displayed there?

The Back Gallery is located in Old Trafford and involves the back alleys between Stamford Street and Albion Street, and Albion Street and Premier Street. These are both located behind Ayres Road.

It houses an impressive collection of 125 works of art submitted by 80 artists, both professionals and local residents. These are curated into 13 different sections for visitors as they make their way through the outdoor gallery.

Artist Stacey Newman at The Back Gallery

The works on display have been printed onto vinyl and mounted on the brick walls of the back alleys. The original artworks feature a wide range of styles and mediums, including watercolours, prints, acrylic on canvas, digital art, photography, embroidery and even cardboard sculptures.

And if anyone is inspired to get creative by the gallery, there are free, family-friendly art workshops held there on the first Saturday of every month, with the chance of the art created during the sessions ending up being displayed on the walls. Many of the sessions involve using donated or recycled materials, and the only condition for visitors is that they should come dressed for the weather while being outside.

It’s all the idea of local culture group OT Creative Space, whose founder Lynda Sterling thought that creating an art gallery would be an interesting and effective way of sprucing up the alleys and making them look better.

What has been said about The Back Gallery?

Lynda said: “We wanted to make the alleyways of Old Trafford a welcome space where the community can come together to view great artwork. Feedback from residents is overwhelmingly positive.

“The gallery really brightens up the area, makes it look cared for and makes it interesting to wander down the back alleys to see what people have created. It’s very inspiring. And artwork, unlike plants, needs less ongoing care and looks great in winter too!”

The artists whose work has gone on display have given the idea the thumbs-up, too.

Local artist Matthew Smith in The Back Gallery

Matthew Smith, one of the local residents who has work adorning the walls, says: “It relaxes people when they can see all the photos of everyone’s work in the gallery.” Professional artist Stacey Newman said: “It’s been a fun-filled opportunity to be part of a community exhibition and I love seeing everyone’s creative minds at work.”

Many of the original artworks can also been seen at OT Creative Space’s base on Ayres Road and on the organisation’s website too.