Art Fund to increase funding by 50%

  • 13 April 2011

Today we announce our plans to increase our funding for museums and galleries to buy and show art by over 50% by 2014. Responding to the severe financial pressures facing most institutions, we're committing £7 million a year to our funding programme - up from £4.5 million. We're also launching the National Art Pass, giving special access to art all over the UK.

We plan to develop our funding programme to deliver art to all corners of the UK in different ways, and to help people experience great art at first hand. We plan to do this by:

  • Making more money directly available to help museums buy important works of art – the Art Fund has given over £24m over the last five years to 248 museums
  • Running more public fundraising campaigns for art at risk of being lost to UK collections – such as the recent £6m Brueghel and Staffordshire Hoard campaigns
  • Sharing art around the UK through support of tours, exhibitions, projects and events – continued support throughout 2012 for ARTIST ROOMS on Tour announced today
  • Supporting curatorial development – beginning with a new partnership with the National Gallery to nurture curatorial talent in regional museums
  • Supporting the collecting of international contemporary art – through the £5m Art Fund International scheme
  • Celebrating, advocating and supporting the museums and galleries sector – through the Art Fund Prize for museums and galleries
  • Campaigning for ways to make it easier for museums to acquire art – for example through tax reforms to encourage lifetime giving
  • Helping people make the most of art – through the introduction of the National Art Pass and a national guide to art

National Art Pass

Today we’re launching the National Art Pass, giving free entry to over 200 charging museums and galleries and 50% off entry to major exhibitions. Every person who owns a National Art Pass will be directly supporting art in museums and galleries across the country as proceeds feed directly into the Art Fund’s funding programme.

The National Art Pass comes hand in hand with Art Fund membership, which includes entry to special events, lectures, visits and private views, as well as Art Quarterly magazine. The National Art Pass is available for £47 a year and can be bought at or by calling 0844 415 4100. A special National Art Pass for Under-26s is also available from today from just £18.75.

Funding partnerships

The Art Fund is delighted to confirm that the Wolfson Foundation has pledged £1.5 million over three years for the acquisitions funding programme. The Foundation has demonstrated huge commitment to the work of the Art Fund over the last three decades. The Art Fund also plans to extend its work with a number of other donors, trusts and foundations.

Stephen Deuchar, Art Fund director, said: “We must ensure that museums remain able to collect, display and interpret great works of art, for a wide public, whatever the financial pressures of the moment. Supported by the National Art Pass, we are determined to help this happen.”

Jeremy Hunt MP, Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport said: “The Art Fund has led the way in showing that philanthropy can be about small as well as large donations – and enabling many more people to access great art. I wish them every success.”

Nicholas Serota, Director, Tate said: "I applaud the bold commitment of the Art Fund at a time when so many funding bodies are reducing their support for museums. If our museums are to thrive, we must continue to grow and develop our collections."