Call for entries for UK's largest arts prize - The Art Fund Prize for museums and galleries 2009

  • Published 1 September 2008

Submissions for the £100,000 Art Fund Prize for museums and galleries 2009 - the UK's largest single arts prize - are invited from Monday 1 September 2008.

The Art Fund Prize for museums and galleries is intended to recognise and celebrate originality and excellence in museums and galleries and increase public appreciation and enjoyment of all they have to offer. The coveted annual award is open to all museums and galleries in the UK, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man. This is the second year that The Art Fund - the UK’s leading independent art charity - has sponsored this major arts prize.

The Prize criteria remain broadly-drawn, enabling the judges to consider a wide range of project size and type. The winner will be the entry that, in the opinion of the judges:

° demonstrates originality, imagination and excellence
° extends public access and understanding of works of art and artefacts from any era and culture
° has the capacity to promote wider public appreciation of museums and galleries
° shows imaginative development, display and interpretation of museum and gallery collections
° demonstrates excellence of design, whether in exhibitions or buildings
° has clearly won the support and enthusiasm of its visitors
° is likely to provide a lasting legacy

The closing date for entries is Friday 31 October 2008.

The winner and nominees will be chosen by an independent panel of judges - to be announced later in the year - comprising a mix of museum and gallery experts, artists, academics, journalists and well-known public faces.

The Art Fund Prize long list of ten will be announced in February 2009, followed by the announcement of the short list of four in April 2009. The winner will be announced during an awards ceremony in June.

The 2008 winner of The Art Fund Prize (formerly the Gulbenkian Prize) was The Lightbox museum and gallery in Woking, a community-initiated museum and gallery space that mixes local history, the visual arts and inspiring architecture. Previous winners were:

° 2007 - Pallant House Gallery in Chichester for its £8.6 million modern gallery extension, designed by Long and Kentish in association with the late Professor Sir Colin St John Wilson
° 2006 - Brunel’s ss Great Britain, Bristol, the world’s first great iron ocean liner
° 2005 - Big Pit: National Mining Museum of Wales, a preserved coal mine
° 2004 - the landscape sculpture Landform by Charles Jencks at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art
° 2003 - the inaugural Prize was awarded to the National Centre for Citizenship and the Law at Nottingham’s Galleries of Justice for the education programme it ran with schools, young offenders and the local community.

In addition to a cheque for £100,000, the winning museum or gallery holds, for one year, the enamelled silver Prize bowl, commissioned from the artist Vladimir Böhm.

More information can be found at


For further information and press enquiries please contact:
Iliana Taliotis, Kate Wright-Morris or Sarah Watson at Colman Getty
Telephone: 020 7631 2666 Fax: 020 7631 2699

Notes to editors:

º The Art Fund Prize for museums and galleries is administered by the Museum Prize, a charitable company created in 2002 by The Art Fund, the Campaign for Museums, the Museums Association and National Heritage. Its trustees are Penelope, Viscountess Cobham (Chair), James Bishop (National Heritage), Ylva French (Campaign for Museums), Mark Taylor (Museums Association), James Naughtie and Eleanor Updale.

º The Museum Prize is registered as a company in England and Wales No. 421870 and a charity No. 1093174. Registered Office: 24 Calvin Street, London E1 6NW.

º 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. 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. 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. For more information contact the Press Office on 020 7225 4888 or visit