Bury Council pays the price for short-sighted decision

  • 15 January 2007

In response to Bury Council's sale of Lowry's A Riverbank, The Art Fund will no longer consider applications for funding from Bury Museum and Gallery.

Despite vociferous opposition from The Art Fund and others, the sale of the painting went ahead in November 2006 to address a shortfall in the council budget; an expedient for which Bury Museum will pay the price for years to come.

Condemnation has been widespread - the Museum Association has decided to bar Bury Art Gallery and Museum from membership as the sale of the painting is considered in contravention of the MA’s Code of Ethics.

The Museums, Libraries and Archives Council has announced that it has removed Bury Art Gallery and Museum from the accreditation scheme therefore leaving it ineligible to receive many external grants in the future. As The Art Fund does not fund any museum which is not accredited, it will not support Bury Museum until it demonstrates that it is willing to work within the ethical standards of the museum sector.

As David Barrie stated, “With the sale of A Riverbank, the town’s council has jeopardised Bury Museum’s future, just to balance the books. It’s a deplorably short term and irresponsible approach, and Bury’s cultural heritage is the poorer for it. ”