- What is the Art Fund's purpose?
- How is the Art Fund funded? Do you receive government support?
- What are your main policies? What strategy is the Art Fund pursuing?
- How much does membership give the Art Fund currently?
- How do the museums acknowledge your support?
- Who is the Director of the Art Fund?
- Who is on the Board of Trustees? How does it work?
- My local museum is planning to sell a work of art from its collection. Is it allowed to do this?
- My local museum is closing. What can I do?
- How can I support a campaign to save a work of art?
- Does the Art Fund campaign to safeguard local museum services?
- What is your charity number?
- How is the Art Fund organised?
The Art Fund is the national fundraising charity for art. We help museums and galleries buy works of art and help the public make the most of the UK's fascinating collections. Find out more about the different ways we do this.
Our work is only made possible thanks to the generosity and commitment of our supporters. Our founders believed that by coming together individuals who cared about art could achieve things that on their own would be impossible.
We have over 92,000 members who all own a National Art Pass, corporate supporters, funding from trusts and foundations, and support from patrons and our patrons circle members.
We receive no public funding whatsoever but we often work in partnership with government funded bodies, like the National Heritage Memorial Fund (NHMF), to raise money for important works of art. For example we ran the appeal to raise the £3.3 million needed to save the Staffordshire Hoard in 2010 and the NHMF stepped in at the last minute with a major grant of £1.285 million to bring the appeal to a successful close.
The Art Fund exists to help museums and galleries acquire great works of art, and to help the public make the most of them.
We raise money to do this in many ways: by giving grants to museums to buy works of art and develop new collections; supporting the showing of art through tours and exhibitions; seeking to influence government policy, and stimulating debate. We also campaign to make it easier for museums to add to their collections, from pressing for new tax incentives to encourage giving, to campaigning for reforms to the export control system for art.
We are pursuing a strategy that sees us doing more to help museums in a number of ways:
- Giving money to help museums buy works of art and develop collections, and placing gifts and bequests of art
- Fundraising to save important works from being lost from public view
- Helping the public to discover and make the most of the UK's museums through the National Art Pass and the Art Guide
- Supporting the development of curators - the lifeblood of museums
- Enabling the sharing of collections around the UK by supporting tours and exhibitions
- Campaigning on behalf of museums and their visitors i.e. for the introduction of tax incentives to make giving easier
In 2011, membership income grew to over £3.5 million. In addition, we received regular donations through our patrons stewardship scheme which enables frequent donations on top of membership subscriptions, one-off donations, and significant support through legacies. All of these are an incredibly important and valued part of our income stream.
Supporters receive a copy of our annual report with their Summer Issue of Art Quarterly and you can also download it.
Museums and galleries who have received our support offer Art Fund members free or reduced price admission to their collections and/or exhibitions on presentation of their National Art Pass.
Most museums display a discreet Art Fund logo or credit next to the work of art we helped them buy, and some also promote the scheme to visitors through displays or special events.
The director of the Art Fund is Dr Stephen Deuchar.
As the Trustee body of the Art Fund, the Board has the primary task of considering applications from museums and galleries for grants towards the purchase of works of art, and offers of gifts as well as bequests. Trustees on the board, which meets several times a year, are expert in a range of fields including art history, business and other relevant artistic areas.
Museums may undertake responsible disposal as part of their long-term collections policy. The Museums Association has published a Code of Ethics (PDF) for museums, which states that wherever possible, museums should retain objects in the public domain, and should give priority to transferring objects to another museum.
Museums should not dispose principally for financial reasons, and sales are only allowed in exceptional circumstances, where it will significantly improve the long-term public benefit derived from the remaining collection, after extensive consultation with the sector and as a last resort after all other sources of funding have been explored. Any money raised from a sale must be ring-fenced solely and directly for the benefit of the museum's collection.
If you are unhappy that a local museum is to close, there are several things you can do.
- Visit the museum: Firstly, visit the museum and talk to staff or other visitors to learn more about the plans and to see how, if needed, you might be able to help. There may already be a local group campaigning to save the museum that you can get involved with.
- Write to your council or MP: If the museum is owned by a local authority, you can write to the Leader of the Council to voice your concerns. Details of how to contact your council can usually be found in your local library, newspaper or on the council’s website.
- You can also contact your local MP – find out who your local MP is here. The best way to is usually by letter or email, but you can also go along to one of their regular surgeries. Again, details of when and where surgeries are held can be found in your local library, newspaper or on the MP’s website.
- Get in touch with the Art Fund: contact us and let us know if you are concerned about your local museum. While we cannot campaign to save every museum from closure, we may be able to offer assistance or advice.
The best way to support all our work, including playing a vital part in helping museums to buy important works of art and develop their collections, is to buy a National Art Pass and become an Art Fund member.
We exist to make great art available for everyone to enjoy. With the help of our members, over the years we have campaigned and raised funds to save countless treasures for public collections, from Velázquez’s Rokeby Venus for the National Gallery in 1906, to the glittering Anglo-Saxon Staffordshire Hoard for two museums in the West Midlands in 2010.
If the Art Fund is campaigning or planning to campaign to save a particular work of art we always let our members know. We do this through our website, our magazine Art Quarterly, our email newsletters and often through local events.
If you are concerned about a work of art or another issue in your local museum, please contact us.
The Art Fund is concerned that local authority-owned museums across the UK are facing difficulties – and in some cases, total closure – because of council budget cuts. It seems that heritage services, including museums and galleries, are often first in the firing line when savings are to be made.
Unfortunately we cannot campaign to save every museum faced with closure but we do step in where possible if we believe access to - or care of - the collection is under threat.
We are currently working with a number of local museums to help safeguard future access to their collections. We have been instrumental in helping to save a number of museums from the threat of closure over the years, including Hatton Gallery in Newcastle, Pickford’s House Museum in Derby and Fleetwood Museum, Lancashire.
Our registered charity number for England and Wales is 209174 and for Scotland SC038331.
The Art Fund is a registered charity that is governed by a Royal Charter which was granted in 1928 and incorporates bye-laws which state that “the business of the Fund shall be managed by the Executive Committee” – today, the Board of Trustees. The Board of Trustees delegates the day to day running of the Art Fund to the senior management team.