For What It’s Worth is a project that showcases emerging contemporary artists by utilising disused urban spaces at the heart of the city. It is formed by Jeni Allison and Rebecca Stevens—both students at the University of Manchester—who work at well-known art galleries in public-facing roles. The exhibition is a much-needed platform for young creatives living in Greater Manchester.
It is through working at these cultural institutions and in conversations with colleagues that they realised the creative potential of their peer group, many of whom are practising artists and makers. With fewer opportunities to gain funding and support in the current political climate, For What It’s Worth creates a pedestal for the twenty artists, who have struggled for recognition in a culture of arts-cuts and the obstacles of closed-institutions.
Jeni and Rebecca have pinpointed Lincoln House—now an empty space—for the site of the exhibition. It stands at the heart of Manchester’s Spinningfields (an area known for its suited professionals and expensive cocktail bars) as a direct response to the inescapable connection between art and money today. As small businesses are priced-out of the city centre and an increasing number of premises are left empty, the exhibition aims to enliven these mothballed properties to assess the worth of arts and culture.
Many of the exhibiting artists work on zero hour contracts, and as a result, exhibition spaces are ordinarily unaffordable; with the kind assistance of Ben Young at Capital Properties, the building is once again accessible to the public for the duration of the exhibition. The building that once housed offices of solicitors and insurance companies is destined for demolition next year, standing as a prescient metaphor for the fast-paced and ever-changing art world.
Following months of collaborative effort, Lincoln House will play host to a wide range of creative work, from oil paintings and watercolours, poetry, creative writing, film, sculpture, textiles and performance art.
The exhibition can be seen at Lincoln House, Deansgate (opposite John Rylands Library) between the 7th and 11th of December 2015