Queerchester launches Manchester Gay Village mural competition

Vada That

An exciting new competition has launched to find a design to reinvigorate one of the largest walls in the Manchester Gay Village. The wall, on the Molly House and Company Bar on Richmond Street, will feature the winning design, which will be translated onto brick and concrete this September by renowned graffiti artist Kelzo and his collaborator Hayley Garner.

The volunteers who started the Queerchester Exhibition scheme are working in collaboration with The Molly House and the competition will run across July and close on 4th August for receiving entries. The Molly House’s manager Paul Duffy said, ‘This is an exciting competition that will really allow people’s creativity and passion to be shown.’

The judging panel for the competition will include local drag celebrity Cheddar Gawjus, alongside talented writer and Vada publisher Adam Lowe. These two judges will sit alongside Kelzo, Paul Duffy and Hayley Garner. The panel will be looking for the final LGBT+ design to be bold, beautiful and unique. The mural will bring vibrancy and identity to this otherwise grey wall.

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The public will be able to vote online and in The Molly House to whittle down entrants for the final judges’ decision.

Adam Prince, who conceived the Queerchester concept to promote arts and culture around the Gay Village, believes the area deserves a revival.

‘Last year was sadly about EMROs, crime, focussing on the negativity of the Village where support was lacking for the area and leaders who would not listen. We see an area ripe for talent, possibility and a community to pioneer.’

He also adds that he is concerned the area has been missing long-term infrastructure. The campaigner’s dream goal is for a centre to be built in the Gay Village to house arts, culture, community, exhibitions and entrepreneurial projects.

Things have not run smoothly for the team behind Queerchester this week. Piccadilly Place, due to host the Queerchester Exhibition over August, was forced to pulled out after their unit was sold. This left volunteers to seek a new way to make their efforts work.

Prince says, ‘Despite the upheaval this week, what is great is that the Village Business Association and many other partners have already come forward to support the exhibition and fundraising attempts to promote and pioneer arts and culture in the Gay Village.’

Queerchester is now working towards showing artists’ work throughout the Gay Village in August. They seek submissions and business support to show their artists’ work. Their aim is to fundraise to support artistic and cultural programmes that give back to the area, and to seek a permanent centre for this purpose within the Village.

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Elle Wiggins, a community organiser says, ‘The wall mural is just one way to bring back some street art and excitement and I am sure many more ideas will come.’

Queerchester has had successful fundraisers previously at Via called Pop Art – focussing on music, drag and an art battle. On 30th July Taurus bar host the fundraiser ‘Queer As Jokes’ with Manchester comedians Jonathan Major, Kerry Leigh, Red Raymond, Kate McCabe, Lee Peart and Simon Ramsden.

To enter the Molly House competition, please check the rules online. Entries can be sent to queerchester@gmx.com or posted to Street Art Competition, The Molly Hopuse, 26 Richmond Street, Manchester, M1 3BN. The closing date for the competition is 4 August.

Find the Queerchester Exhibition on Facebook to contribute art to the changed Art Trail iniative.

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