The highly-anticipated cultural program will officially launch at Manly Art Gallery & Museum on Friday September 16.

For 14 days, Manly will host its 23rd annual celebration of art and culture, to be opened by esteemed violinist, composer and conductor Richard Tognetti on Friday September 16 from 6 – 8pm. Set against the picturesque surf beach, the festival offers a huge range of family-friendly events; exhibitions, concerts, presentations, dance, film and creative workshops. This year promises to be very special, with the launch of two new locally-inspired art exhibitionsNorthern Light andManly: Art from the Vault,drawing on the rich artistic heritage of the Northern Beaches and its Art Gallery and Museum.

The Art Gallery and Museum will also see a special cultural presentation of Frida Kahlo, titledFrida Kahlo: Art, Life, Culture and Chocolate, bringing together delicious Mexican hot chocolate while you learn about the art, life, influences and culture of Kahlo. Respected artist Rhonda Dee (hailing from Tex-Mex territory) hosts an exploration into Frida’s background and influences, running parallel with the NSW Art Gallery’s current Kahlo exhibition. Manly will also feature the chamber music talents of Dimitri Ashkenazi on Saturday 24 September and Sunday 25 September, who joins ensembles from the Sydney Conservatorium High School to present three concerts built on the foundation of youth and friendship.

Other highlights from the festival includeAustralian Chamber Orchestra violinistSatu Vänskä, Midnight Oil and Electric Guitar Orchestra’sJim MoginieandBrian Ritchie, bass guitarist for rock band Violent Femmes, teaming up to stage a concert on Saturday September 17. Art critic and author Ashleigh Wilson will join the program on Saturday September 17 to discuss his new biography of Brett Whiteley, the widely-celebrated artist. Manly invites families and artists to participate in creating an interactive community installation on Sunday September 18.

Attracting about 15,000 visitors annually, this is a wonderful celebration of both local and internation art and culture, with Manly Artist Market, Kids Art Adventures, a teen photography exhibit, and much more, promising a great time for people of all ages.

Bookings for many events are essential;

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