Applications open

Freelands Art Fund Acquisition

This new partnership between Freelands Foundation and Art Fund offers grants of up to £50,000 for museums to acquire contemporary art and increase public access to work by women artists in the UK.

Funds available

For each artist, a grant of up to £50,000 is available to museums to enable the acquisition of one or more work/s.

This new partnership between Freelands Foundation and Art Fund offers grants of up to £50,000 for museums to acquire contemporary art and increase public access to work by women artists in the UK.

The annual Freelands Award was established in 2016 to enable an arts organisation outside London to present an exhibition, including significant new work, by a mid-career woman artist who may not yet have received the public recognition that their work deserves. Winning artists are Jacqueline Donachie (with Fruitmarket Gallery, 2016), Lis Rhodes (with Nottingham Contemporary, 2017), Veronica Ryan (with Spike Island, 2018), Hannah Starkey (with Hepworth Wakefield, 2019) and Ingrid Pollard (with MK Gallery, 2020).

The Freelands Art Fund Acquisition enables museums and public collections to acquire work by award-winning women artists. Through bolstering contemporary collections in the UK, this initiative increases public access to work by women artists, and brokers new relationships between artists, organisations, museums and their audiences.
Following the acquisition of a key work by the first Freelands Award 2016 winner Jacqueline Donachie to a major public collection, this partnership will support the acquisition of works by subsequent and future winning artists from 2017 onwards.
We are launching an open call for museums and public collections interested in acquiring work by either or both of these two artists:

  • 2017 winner: Lis Rhodes (exhibited at Nottingham Contemporary)
  • 2018 winner: Veronica Ryan (exhibited at Spike Island.)

Who should apply

We will consider applications from public museums, galleries, historic houses, libraries and archives based anywhere in the UK that are:

  • Open for at least half the week for at least six months of the year.
  • Fully or provisionally Accredited through the Arts Council Accreditation scheme or other national equivalents.
  • Most organisations we support will hold collections, which may include fine and applied art and design, archaeology and/or social history. They will also be committed to delivering activity that increases public access to these collections, which has public benefit and aligns with Art Fund’s charitable objectives.
  • All grant recipients will be asked to sign our terms and conditions.
  • We do not offer funding under this programme in the following instances.
  • Organisations that exist to make profit, including: Private Limited Companies, Public Limited Companies, Unlimited Companies, or Sole Traders.
  • General Partnerships, Limited Partnerships, or Limited Liability Partnerships.
  • Commercial organisations.
  • Organisations with a focus on music, drama, dance and art forms outside the visual arts.
  • Individuals or unincorporated bodies directly (unless an application is submitted by or with the formal written agreement of an eligible organisation (as described above).
  • Hospitals and places of worship.
  • Schools or higher education institutions.

Submitting your expression of interest

You can submit your expression of interest through your My Art Fund account.

Applicants are asked to specify which artist’s work they want to acquire.

Applicants can submit a separate expression of interest for each artist. However, a museum can only be successful with one artist.

Museums can consider acquiring any existing work by the artist, including but not limited to works exhibited at the award exhibition.

Applicants can acquire more than one work, as long as their proposal remains within the allocated budget (circa £50,000 per artist). Should a work exceed these financial parameters, we are open to discussing how this can be supported.

Credits and acknowledgments

These acquisitions are made possible with the support of Freelands Foundation.

Next steps

28 January 2022 – Application deadline

  • Museums submit expression of interest form to Art Fund demonstrating why they are interested in acquiring work by the artist, how the themes the artist explores relate to their collection and might be relevant for their audiences, and what extant works they are interested in. Applicants interested in both artists, need to submit a separate expression of interest form for each artist.


  • The decision-making panel will come together to agree which museums are successful (one museum per artist). The panel is made up of representatives from Art Fund, Freelands Foundation, Nottingham Contemporary and Spike Island

March – April

  • Successful applicants will have a two-month time period to have more in-depth conversations with the artist and select the work they want to acquire. Following conversation with the artist and their gallery representation (if applicable), museums will then submit an acquisition application for approval to the full Art Fund board for approval.


  • Art Fund Trustee meeting. Decision communicated to museums.

Get in touch

You are encouraged to contact the Programmes team to discuss your potential project before submitting an application.

Please contact:

Robert Dingle, programme partnerships manager
020 7225 4871

How to apply

To submit your expression of interest, log in to My Art Fund.

You must be registered as a professional user.

If you already have a My Art Fund account but are not registered as a professional user, you can add your professional details when logged in.

If you require application forms in an alternative format, please contact the Programmes team.

Log in to apply
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