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CUBE celebrates first year with steep rise in visitors

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Champagne flowed at Manchester's cube Gallery last week as it celebrated its first anniversary. Sandwiched between the touring 'Living in the City' show, and 'memories are made of this' in the recently opened Children's Gallery, is fat's first major exhibition, 'Kill the modernist within'.

Director Graeme Russell heralded the show as a significant coup for Manchester and is understood to be in talks with possible touring venues in New York and Japan. This was a second visit to cube for fat, which had designed the 'mud@Cube' exhibition in February this year (aj 4.3.99). 'Everyone has been incredibly supportive during what was bound to be a difficult first year,' said Russell, who has been gratified to see visitor figures increase seven-fold during a year which included the Future Systems exhibition - attracting over 3,000 visitors in seven weeks.

Although now firmly established and with ambitious expansion plans, there is still concern that many architectural practices have not added their names to the membership list. With annual operating costs understood to be in excess of £100,000 and lottery funding only paying for the capital works, the centre has to rely financially on its membership, sponsors, and the hire of its seminar suite. It may be that Russell's careful policy not to allow the centre to merely become a shop window for local practices and projects, but to be a more broadly based centre for Manchester's design community, has kept many practices at arm's length so far.

However, with future plans including a much- needed cafe bar to add a social dimension to the centre, website, lecture programme, and the opening next year of a major exhibition on Daniel Libeskind, cube has laid a secure foundation for the future and found its audience.

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