Backstage at The Lowry: Mike Thomas, Gallery Supervisor

My name is Mike and I’m one of the Gallery Supervisors here at The Lowry. Like a lot of people, I was keen on art because I always liked drawing and painting. However, I remember it was an experience in an art gallery that made me engage with and want to study art. I gravitated to London after finishing my degree in Fine Art, where I spent time working in bars before I fell into a technician’s job at an art dealer’s. After moving to Manchester at the behest of my wife, I completed an MA in Art History and then obtained my current job after working for a period in The Lowry’s Box Office.

Most of my time is spent greeting visitors to the Galleries and with providing them with any information they might require. Apart from the administration that comes from managing a team, the rest of my time is spent working with staff to ensure we provide our visitors with the best possible customer experience.

Probably the best thing about my job is seeing people – of all ages and all backgrounds – respond to the art on show. Often children do this by picking up a pencil and having a go at drawing something themselves, whether it be a Lowry or something out of their heads. Our crowded display shelves are testament to just how much talent there is out there.

A lot of adult visitors often come out as enthusiastic and excited as some of the kids, and many express amazement at the variety and diversity of Lowry’s work. Also, many of our visitors leave the gallery amazed at how passionate and knowledgeable our staff are, pleased at how they’re experience has been enriched.

Perhaps that’s the high point of my job then: seeing others experience what I experienced when I first ‘engaged’ with art; getting to see the transformational experience art has for our visitors.

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