Councillor Mike Amesbury, Manchester City Council's Executive Member for Culture and Leisure and competition winner Claire Isherwood were raising glasses of pink milk last Friday 24 October.
They were at Manchester Art Gallery to toast the success of the gallery's summer exhibition Green Drops and Moonsquirters: The Utterly Imaginative World of Lauren Child and for a presentation of competition prizes to Claire.
Manchester Art Gallery has been celebrating a string of successes recently, as staff picked up the Large Visitor Attraction of the Year award at the glitzy England's Northwest Tourism Awards last week. And, thanks to the success of its summer exhibition, the gallery has also been celebrating one of its busiest summers ever. Over 100,000 people visited the gallery while their Lauren Child exhibition was on, including the gallery's two millionth visitor since re-opening in 2002.
The Green Drops and Moonsquirters exhibition, which ran from 21 June - 21 September, was conceived and developed for families by a team of staff from Manchester Art Gallery, in close consultation with the award-winning author and illustrator Lauren Child. It was the first exhibition ever dedicated to Child's books, which include the much-loved characters of Clarice Bean, That Pesky Rat and Charlie and Lola.
The gallery has also experienced its most successful ever programme of family events. In August alone, over 6,000 children took part in activities including dancing, drawing and story-telling sessions, all themed around Lauren Child's characters. Participants enjoying the workshops ranged from local residents returning week after week, to families from as far away as Holland and Kuwait!
Shameless actor David Threlfall who plays Frank Gallagher and comedian Dave Spikey also visited over the summer to host storytelling sessions for pupils from local children's centres and holiday playschemes.
A themed menu was created for the gallery's cafe for the duration of the exhibition. It featured such delicacies as "green drops" (peas), "moonsquirters" (tomatoes) and Lola's favourite pink milk, with over 4,500 glasses sold.
More than 3,500 people also entered a competition at the gallery to win a giant pack of signed Lauren Child goodies. On Friday the winner of the competition, Claire Isherwood visited the gallery with her son Seth, and her parents to pick up the prize. They all shared a glass of pink milk with Councillor Amesbury in celebration.
Councillor Mike Amesbury, Executive Member for Culture and Leisure comments: "Manchester Art Gallery's Lauren Child exhibition has been a real highlight of the summer for families in the region, as demonstrated by its overwhelming popularity. The show has helped the gallery achieve some landmark figures, including its two millionth visitor, and its busiest ever holiday events. It's also a great illustration of why the gallery was such a deserving winner of Large Visitor Attraction of the Year in England's Northwest Tourism Awards last week, and as a finalist in The Guardian's Family Friendly Museum Award earlier this year."
Families planning a visit to the gallery soon might like to time it to coincide with the special arts and crafts workshops for the half-term holidays. Fantasy Cameras workshops run Tuesday 28 October - Friday 31 October, 1 - 3pm and are based around the gallery's current exhibition Holman Hunt and the Pre-Raphaelite Vision.
Jenny Beard, Communications Manager, Manchester Art Gallery. Tel: 0161 235 8864