About us

We help the UK’s museums and galleries to share great art and culture with everyone

Who we are

Two people stood over a computer

Founded in 1903, Art Fund is the national fundraising charity for art. We exist to help protect and enrich the UK’s museum and gallery collections and to ensure as many people as possible can access and enjoy them.

Together with our supporters, donors, and 130,000 National Art Pass and Student Art Pass members, we help save important works of art and artefacts, fund professional development and widely promote the benefits of visiting museums to new audiences.

From the smallest local history collection to the largest world-leading art institution, museums play a vital role in the health and happiness of our society. Providing inspiration, education and opportunities for collaboration, they help communities thrive, and can provide a lifeline in times of trouble, as the pandemic has shown.

We believe that supporting this rich resource is an essential, ongoing and collective endeavour.

What we do

1

Build and sustain collections

We help museums to develop their collections with important new acquisitions by both offering grants and providing a channel for gifts and bequests. We also support museums in maintaining the irreplaceable works in their care.

2

Save works of art

Works of national significance can be lost through neglect or sale into private hands. We work hard to place such items in UK public collections for present and future generations to enjoy.

3

Develop professional skills

The high quality of UK collections depends on the expertise of museum professionals, from curators to conservators. We support the museum workforce by funding training and career development opportunities.

4

Share art with people

Connecting people with art and culture is at the heart of what we do. We champion the benefits of museums and galleries far and wide and help museums to build their relationships with visitors and local communities.

Our impact

Keeping art public

Giving grants for acquisitions is central to our work, helping museums to bring important works of art before the public and keep them there. In the last year these grants totalled £2.8 million, and more than 240 objects and works of art joined public collections with our support.

Strengthening the sector

Our resources help museums realise their goals. Since 2015, museums have raised over £1 million using our free crowdfunding platform, Art Happens, and more than 200 museums use our free ticketing tool, Art Tickets. We also run the annual Art Fund Museum of the Year prize, and lobby the goverment on important issues.

Supporting professionals

Our grants allow curators to deepen their knowledge and build their careers, while paid opportunities for our student members help to support the next generation of museum professionals.

How we work

As an independent charity, we receive no funding from government. We are supported by our National Art Pass and Student Art Pass members, as well as donations, legacies and gifts from individuals, grants from trusts and foundations, and the public’s response to campaigns and special appeals.

Being independent gives us the ability to be flexible, act quickly and make bold decisions in support of the sector. Our core costs are covered by returns from investments which means we can direct the vast majority of our income straight to museums.

Our board of trustees, made up of art and museum experts, oversees the direction of Art Fund and considers all gifts and bequests of art and grant applications for acquisitions. The day-to-day running of the charity is in the hands of our senior management team, supported by a hard-working group of nearly 70 members of staff.

Everything we do is built towards supporting the sector in improving access to art for all. You can read our statement on equality, diversity and inclusion here.

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