Art Fund, the UK’s national charity for art, is commemorating its 120th anniversary with a new £1.2 million pledge.
Established on 11 November 1903, the charity’s primary focus has been supporting museums and galleries in acquiring art for public collections.
In celebration of its anniversary, it has initiated a fundraising campaign to support projects that increase museum accessibility and strengthen ties with local communities.
The charity plans to allocate £1.2 million in 2024/5 to projects which support this aim, in addition to its annual activities providing grants and support.
The next year will also see the charity offering further support for commissions, bringing art into more public spaces, and building on the success of its The Wild Escape project to run further initiatives designed to bring young audiences into museums.
Renowned artist Grayson Perry said of Art Fund: “For 120 years the Art Fund has been a vital force for good in the cultural ecology. Benefiting everyone who loves art and material culture; museums, visitors and artists. I have always been proud to support this great organisation in any way I can.”
Historian Mary Beard expressed her admiration for Art Fund’s National Art Pass. Beard said :”I am an enormous fan of the Art Fund. Their National Art Pass helps to connect more and more people with art and history, from David Hockney to dinosaurs.”
Since its founding, membership has grown from 500 to a community of over 135,000 National Art Pass members across a range of membership types – including Art Passes for students, teachers and under-30s, as well as options for those with accompanying friends or children. It is thanks to these members that buy a National Art Pass, as well as the support of trusts, foundations and donors, that Art Fund’s charitable work is made possible.
Jenny Waldman, Director of Art Fund said “Over 120 years, museums have evolved into enticing places of wonder – dynamic and collaborative.
“They are driven by world-leading curatorial research, and museum professionals determined to reflect the world around us – in the art and objects they collect, the stories they tell, the perspectives they share. They inspire us, often surprise us, and bring us together.
“As part of our celebration of 120 years, we will give a wave of grants across the UK, designed to connect museums to more people. We want everyone to enjoy these amazing spaces.”
Image: Derek Jarman's Prospect Cottage, 2022 Credit: © Thierry Bal. Courtesy of Prospect Cottage Twitter
In 2020 the future of Derek Jarman’s Prospect Cottage is secured as Art Fund’s major appeal to save the artist and filmmaker home reached its £3.5m target.