Tate St Ives wins Art Fund Museum of the Year 2018

The Cornish gallery crowned winner of the £100,000 prize at a ceremony at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.

Tate St Ives has been announced as Art Fund Museum of the Year 2018, the largest and most prestigious museum prize in the world. Anne Barlow, director of Tate St Ives, was presented with the £100,000 prize by artist Isaac Julien and the ‘world’s best teacher’ Andria Zafirakou at an award ceremony at the V&A, London.

The winner was chosen from five finalists: Brooklands Museum (Weybridge), Ferens Art Gallery (Hull), Glasgow Women’s Library, The Postal Museum (London) and Tate St Ives (Cornwall). Each of the other finalist museums received a £10,000 prize in recognition of their achievements.

Among the 400 guests at the dinner hosted by Stephen Deuchar, director of Art Fund, were artists Chantal Joffe, Grayson Perry, Yinka Shonibare and Gillian Wearing, as well as art world leaders Maria Balshaw, Tristam Hunt and Frances Morris.

The Art Fund Museum of the Year 2018 judging panel was made up Ian Blatchford, director of the Science Museum Group; Rebecca Jones, BBC arts correspondent; Melanie Manchot, artist; Monisha Shah, independent media consultant and Art Fund trustee; and Stephen Deuchar (chair), Art Fund director.

Stephen Deuchar, chair of the judges, said: ‘Tate St Ives tells the story of the artists who have lived and worked in Cornwall in an international context. The new extension to the gallery is deeply intelligent and breathtakingly beautiful, providing the perfect stage for a curatorial programme that is at once adventurous, inclusive and provocative. The judges admired an architect and gallery team who devoted some 12 years to this transformational change, consulting with the local community all the way.’

Judge Melanie Manchot said: ‘As soon as I walked into Tate St Ives I had an amazingly strong feeling that they’re doing something innovative. I’ve visited before, but now the whole building, the galleries, the views all feel different – they have been given a new lease of life. The extension has not so much been an addition as a complete reimagining. I was deeply impressed by the passion and knowledge of their guides to the collection and exhibition – all local to the gallery. Though they were closed for 18 months during their redevelopment they kept their members, which I feel speaks to a sense of belonging and a new Tate St Ives so much more embedded in its community. For me, it was a profound experience.’

Art Fund Museum of the Year recognises museums that have undertaken transformative projects; brought their collections to life for audiences in exceptional ways; delivered an innovative programme of audience development, learning or outreach; and won the support of their visitors. Previous winners include the Hepworth Wakefield (2017), V&A, London (2016), the Whitworth, Manchester (2015), and Yorkshire Sculpture Park (2014).

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