£6.7m grant giveaway by The Art Fund

  • 13 June 2008

The Art Fund, the UK's leading independent art charity, today announces the largest grant giving year in its 105 year history, with almost £7million offered in 2007 to acquire works of art for everyone to enjoy in museums and galleries across the UK (1).

To search for a full list of last year’s grants and add your comments go to www.artfund.org/artsaved

Five of the works had had export licences deferred because of their historic importance and were successfully saved from going abroad, including Turner’s Blue Rigi which was acquired for Tate. The Art Fund gave a £500,000 grant and led the ‘buy a brushstroke’ campaign to which more than 11,000 members of the public contributed, raising an additional £550,000.

The largest grant in The Art Fund’s history was given with £2.25m towards Dumfries House and its contents, which were saved for the nation by a coalition of charities and organisations led by The Art Fund.

David Barrie, Director of The Art Fund, said: “2007 was perhaps the most successful year in The Art Fund’s history. Not only did we give away a record sum of money, but we pulled off two triumphant campaigns: for Turner’s Blue Rigi and Dumfries House. In addition, we launched a hugely important new initiative which will transform the collecting of international contemporary art across the UK.”

Eight grants for the full cost of the work were given, including Queen and Country, by Official War Artist and Turner Prize winner Steve McQueen, which commemorates British service personnel who have lost their lives in the current Iraq conflict. The work consists of an installation of facsimile postage stamp sheets featuring photographic portraits of individual men and women who have lost their lives in the conflict so far. The charity gave the work to the Imperial War Museum and is now spearheading the campaign to have real stamps issued by Royal Mail.

In addition, Art Fund International, a scheme to promote the collecting of non-British contemporary art in the regions, was launched in April. Five partnerships between UK museums and contemporary art organisations were awarded £1million each in November, to fund the creation of collections of international contemporary art over the next five years.

In May it was announced that The Art Fund would be taking over sponsorship of the Museum Prize, the largest single arts prize in the UK, and in August the charity was unveiled as a key partner in the Big Art Project, an ambitious public art commissioning initiative being filmed for a major Channel 4 series to be broadcast at the end of November 2008.

Notes to Editors:
1. 152 grants for more than 8,000 works of art, totalling £6,700,000, were committed to during 2007
2. The Art Fund is the UK’s leading independent art charity. It offers grants to help UK museums and galleries enrich their collections; campaigns on behalf of museums and their visitors; and promotes the enjoyment of art.
3. It is entirely funded from public donations and has 80,000 members. Since 1903 the charity has helped museums and galleries all over the UK secure 860,000 works of art for their collections.
4. Recent achievements include: helping secure Anthony d’Offay’s collection, ARTIST ROOMS, for Tate and National Galleries of Scotland in February 2008 with a grant of £1million; putting together a unique funding package to ensure Dumfries House in Ayrshire and its contents were secured intact for the nation in July 2007; and running the ‘Buy a Brushstroke’ public appeal which raised over £550,000 to keep Turner’s Blue Rigi watercolour in the UK.
5. For more information contact the Press Office on 020 7225 4888 or visit www.artfund.org