Manchester's Whitworth Art Gallery wins Lever Prize

Whitworth Art Gallery
Image caption The Whitworth Art Gallery has doubled annual visitor numbers since 2006 to around 170,000 per year

Manchester's Whitworth Art Gallery has beaten local competition from Salford's The Lowry and the Tatton Park Biennial to claim the Lever Prize 2011.

The prize, which awards £10,000 to the winner, is an annual award honouring arts organisations in the North West.

It was set up in 2005 to encourage private collaboration and philanthropy.

Whitworth director Maria Balshaw said the gallery was "keen to develop links with regional businesses, and winning the prize gives us that opportunity".

Previous winners of the award include Liverpool Biennial, the Manchester International Festival and The National Football Museum.

Ms Balshaw said she was "delighted to join such an illustrious group of winners".

The prize is awarded by the North West Business Leadership Team, which comprises of 28 of the region's largest companies, and is judged by the group, with assistance from Arts and Business North West and the Northwest Regional Development Agency.

The Whitworth was recently given £8m by the Heritage Lottery Fund to help it double its exhibition space.

It is the second year that the Whitworth has been nominated for the prize, being beaten to the accolade in 2010 by the Manchester digital arts festival, FutureEverything.

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