Home Sculptor Business As UK Museums Struggle, Major Artists Step In to Help

As UK Museums Struggle, Major Artists Step In to Help

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Six out of 10 museums, galleries, and historic houses across the UK are concerned about their survival, according to a recent survey by Art Fund, a British nonprofit that supports art acquisitions and exhibitions across the country. The need is so dire that when Art Fund released its first round of emergency funding this summer, only 17% of the museums that applied received grants before the money was exhausted.

To help institutions weather this bleak forecast, major British artists, including Anish Kapoor and Lubaina Himid, have created prints for Art Fund’s #TogetherForMuseums fundraiser.

The organization aims to raise £1 million (~$1,334,712) for pandemic-hit museums via a combination of artwork sales and individual donations, with roughly a third of its goal met so far. Different tiers of giving make the initiative accessible to a wide range of donors: one can purchase a £100 (~$134) special-edition screenprint by conceptual artist Michael Landy, for instance, or limited-edition signed prints by Himid and Kapoor for £500 (~$668) and £4,000 (~$5,341), respectively.

Those with a smaller budget can still receive an artist-made gift for pitching in, like a set of David Shrigley tea towels for their £25 (~$33) donation, or simply choose to donate without a reward — Art Fund encourages gifts of any size. And for those who can afford to give a little more, another option allows donors to “sponsor a museum project,” directing their funds to a specific collection or exhibition of their choice, for £9,995 (~$13,332).

Museum attendance continues to dwindle due to pandemic-related lockdowns and social distancing measures. Although the British government approved a rescue package of around $2 billion for the arts sector at large in July, only half of UK institutions surveyed by Art Fund received have emergency funding so far. Amongst the organization’s 800 museum partners, 20% have been unable to reopen following the first UK-wide lockdown.

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