How we are funded

Find out how we raise money to support museums and galleries around the UK.

Rachel Whiteread's Tree of Life was commissioned with the Art Fund's support for the façade of the Whitechapel Gallery and funded through sales of the National Art Pass © The artist

Rachel Whiteread's Tree of Life was commissioned with the Art Fund's support for the façade of the Whitechapel Gallery and funded through sales of the National Art Pass

The Art Fund is a registered charity, governed by a Royal Charter that was granted in 1928 and incorporates bye-laws stating that 'the business of the Fund shall be managed by the Executive Committee' – today, the board of trustees, which delegates the day-to-day running of the Art Fund to the senior management team.

We raise around £11m each year and direct £9.5m of this to charitable activity, including:

Direct grants to museums for:

  • Acquiring works of art and new collections
  • Curatorial training and development
  • Tours, exhibitions and the display of art

We also support museums in other ways:

  • Through promotion to hundreds of thousands of museum-going public via our Art Guide app, artfund.org, exhibition leaflets, Art Quarterly magazine, e-communications and our annual printed Art Guide
  • Helping them to raise money for specific projects via our Art Happens crowd-funding platform
  • Celebrating the best of museums annually through the Art Fund Prize for Museum of the Year
  • Placing gifts and bequests of art in museums
  • Campaigning and advocacy
  • Running urgent fundraising appeals for works of art or collections at risk of being lost from public view

 

Funding

We raise our income through several streams. One of the most significant is from our members who all own a National Art Pass. Many Art Fund members are also patrons, giving us additional support through regular donations. 

Our 550-strong volunteer network of fundraising committees raises around £300,000 each year by organising special events and visits that are enjoyed by hundreds of art lovers across the UK.

Our corporate membership scheme gives National Art Pass benefits to companies' employees and clients, as well as access to special events and private views.

Members of our Art Partners scheme enjoy a tailored programme of events, ranging from visits to artists’ studios to private dinners at national museums and trips abroad.

Grant-making trusts and foundations place their faith in the expertise of our trustees to ensure works of the highest quality are acquired for public enjoyment. The Wolfson Foundation has supported our work for over 35 years and has donated over £5m for acquisitions during that time. 

We are particularly grateful to those who leave us legacies, many of whom are long-standing Art Fund members. Additional donations are an important and growing source of funds, whether one-off or made on a regular basis, and we draw income from our investments to cover regular running costs. From time to time we also use money from reserves to fund new initiatives or exceptional acquisitions of works of art.

Contact us if you have any questions.