Winners of £50,000 Art Fund Collect prize announced

Four museums and galleries have today won a share of a £50,000 fund for contemporary craft from The Art Fund.

This new initiative, Art Fund Collect, was launched in partnership with the Crafts Council and aims to boost the quality and profile of public collections of contemporary craft in the UK. The winning museums and galleries are:

Hove Museum & Art Gallery, Brighton & Hove

Hove Museum & Art Gallery won for its choice of ‘Neckpiece 2007’ by Adam Paxon, bought for £7,425. The necklace is vast in scale and demonstrates great skill in the detail of the bright neon colours and large oval and tentacle shaped beads.

mima (Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art)

mima won for its choice of ‘Monumental Vase V’ by Julian Stair, bought for £25,263. The pot’s title is a deliberate reference to its towering scale which is made even more dramatic by the density of its intense grey colour and matt texture.

Ulster Museum, Belfast

Ulster Museum won for its choice of ‘A Silver Organism - Pine 2007’ by Junko Mori, bought for £8,865. This intricate piece, inspired by botanical drawings, has been beautifully crafted in silver. It will compliment the museum’s existing collection of botanical specimens making the acquisition relevant, not only to its applied art collections but to the Museum as a whole.

The Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester

The Whitworth Art Gallery won for its choice of ‘Shadow of the Wall, Gaza’ by Norma Starszakowna bought for £9,800. This evocative textile work demonstrates the maker’s experimental print and dye techniques and shows how craft has the power to express subtle and powerful political engagement. This was jointly funded by Crafts Council Patrons and The Art Fund.

David Barrie, Director of The Art Fund, said: “This new initiative offers the winning museums the means to make really significant purchases, which would otherwise certainly be beyond their reach. It will also give the British public the chance to discover some of the remarkable works of art being produced by craftspeople not just in this country, but around the world. “

A total of 23 galleries and museums from across the country applied for the scheme, from which 10 museums were chosen to have privileged access to Collect 2008 (1) at a special pre VIP preview this morning. Each museum submitted its final choice of object to the Committee (2), which selected the final four winners.

By providing preview access to the fair the scheme has provided the winning museums with the unique and exciting opportunity to compete with private collectors and expand their regional collections, whilst raising the profile of public collections of contemporary craft in the UK.

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