COVID-19: Message to our museum network and grant holders

  • Updated 23 March 2020

Art Fund will be working to support our museum network and grant holders during this hugely challenging time.

Over the last few days we have been in contact with many of you regarding funded projects and your future plans as you think about how both of these might be affected by this current crisis. We have been struck by the resilience and determination of everyone we have been in touch with as they begin to navigate unprecedented challenges, both personal and professional.

Here at Art Fund our immediate efforts are focused on honouring existing funding commitments, including where projects may change significantly, and expediting grant payments where this will be helpful. At the same time, we are committed to keeping our funding programmes open, adapting them to support current challenges and needs, and listening to colleagues across the sector about how we can offer additional sustained and practical support in the months ahead.

Please see below for answers to the questions and concerns we have been hearing most frequently up to now, plus funding updates and advice. We will be refreshing this page regularly and making further announcements as soon as we can.

You can also keep up to date with the latest information about COVID-19 on the government’s webpage: www.gov.uk/coronavirus

Programmes: getting in touch

Art Fund staff members are now working remotely but you can still reach us by phone, email and video-call. If you have any questions about an existing grant we suggest you contact the programme lead. You can find details of everyone in the Programmes team here. If you can’t remember please just email programmes@artfund.org and we’ll put you in touch.

Existing grants

If you wish to delay or move funded activities, alter reporting dates, shift payment schedules, or speak to us about other kinds of support, we’ll do all we can to help. We’re already in contact with many of you about travel grants and awards, and we’ll remain completely flexible on these and all other current grants and supported projects until the national and international picture is clearer.

As each funded project is so different and will be affected very differently we do not have a ‘one size fits all’ approach to requests to change or curtail planned activities. We can reassure you that you that we will be as flexible as we can if your project needs to be delivered under new circumstances or realised in a new way (i.e. digitally instead of physically). We will need to agree any changes in advance so please discuss your plans with us and we will confirm revisions in writing.

We know that the current circumstances will mean regrettably some projects will be cancelled altogether. If this happens please be reassured that we will not require you to repay any portion of the grant that has already been spent. We will decide what happens to the remaining funds on a case by case basis, so please do get in touch to discuss.

Payments

We know that cash-flowing grants for acquisitions, projects and activities will be more important now than ever before. Even though our offices are temporarily closed we are still able to process payments. If you have recently posted documents to our office please resend these digitally just in case we missed them. Please send any grant paperwork, grant claim forms and invoices to programmes@artfund.org

Current opportunities

All of our grant programmes are still open. If you have any applications in train, ideas you’d like to explore, or anything you’d like to discuss with the team, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

We are adapting our programmes and being flexible around timing and eligibility to help you access our funding more easily than ever before and meet the pressing needs of the sector. Below are details of two programmes which might useful at present. We are open to funding all types of activity, even those that would ordinarily be ineligible, and can make decisions very swiftly if required.

Small Project Grants

Our small project grants provide funding to help museums, galleries and visual arts organisations test new ways of working that will benefit their audiences. We encourage innovative and entrepreneurial thinking and are happy to support experimental projects. If you are thinking about how you might engage audiences in new ways while your museum or gallery is temporarily closed get in touch.

Professional Network Grants

Keeping in touch with each other and sharing best practice across all areas of museum and professional practice is going to be vital for all of us in the coming weeks and months. Our network grants provide funding to support professional networks, including SSNs, in sharing expertise and knowledge. The grants are designed to be ‘light-touch’ and responsive to need. We warmly encourage projects which are realised digitally or utilise new technologies.

Future funding

We know that our cultural organisations and their workforces will face unprecedented disruption and financial loss and are actively exploring how we can support organisations affected by COVID-19. We want to offer all possible practical and material help and are in close contact with museums and galleries, other trusts and funders, and sector organisations, with a view to working together to support the sector. Please get in touch if you have any feedback or intelligence you would like to share which could help shape our thinking.

Museum marketing  support

We will continue to provide marketing support and guidance to museums throughout this period of closures. We are making all necessary venue updates online as we respond to these changes.

Visitor information updates

Please continue to inform us in My Art Fund to ensure we are reflecting the most up to date visitor information for your venue page.

Social media and digital marketing help

We know many of you will be keeping in touch with audiences on social media and we are here to share that content and ensure online engagement with your collections continues. Let us know how else we can help by emailing museums@artfund.org

Art Tickets

Our Museum Services team are still working hard during this time to provide support to Art Tickets users. We’re looking into the best ways to adapt Art Tickets for the change in museum openings and event calendars so let us know if there is functionality that would help you manage your cancellations and tickets during this period and we can take this into consideration. Whilst we are working remotely please do continue to contact us by email at museums@artfund.org or by calling us 020 7225 4870. 

Museum of the Year 2020

Due to the current circumstances we have taken the difficult decision to postpone Art Fund Museum of the Year 2020. We are working on a new schedule which will be shared in due course.

If you have any queries in relation to Museum of the Year let us know via emills@artfund.org

Please do contact our Programmes and Museum Marketing teams if there’s anything we can do to help your organisation over the weeks and months ahead.