Art for sale in gallery rescue bid

Art Fund is hoping to raise £1m to help museums as they “fight for survival” in the pandemic crisis by selling donated art by the likes of Cornelia Parker, Jeremy Deller and Howard Hodgkin.

They join Anish Kapoor, Lubaina Himid and Michael Landy who have already donated work to the Together for Museums campaign, with works going for as little as £15.

Image shows Howard Hodgkin's screen print A Small Thing Enlarged

 “The latest lockdown is a body blow and is leaving our museums and galleries fighting for survival” said Art Fund director Jenny Waldman. “Smaller museums in particular, which are so vital to their communities, simply do not have the reserves to see them through this winter.”

She said the recent research by the fund had found that six in ten museums, galleries and historic houses were worried about their survival. “Tragically, we are now seeing well-known and much-loved museums facing mothballing or permanent closure. We are urging the public to back our Together for Museums campaign, and donate if they possibly can, to help us do all we can to ensure these essential places of inspiration, reflection and joy are there for us on the other side of this crisis.”

Art Fund has announced today that it is making new grants worth £750,000 of new grants to help museums, taking its emergency response total to £2.25m. So far, however, the fund has received 451 applications - a fifth of all museums, galleries and historic houses in the UK - for help from the fund worth almost £17m, so that only 15%, or 67 projects, have been successful in the fund’s Response & Reimagine programme.

However, he Florence Nightingale Museum in London has already announced that it has closed indefinitely post-lockdown, only opening for special events thanks to an Art Fund grant, and Wirral Council has announced that the Williamson Art Gallery & Museum in Birkenhead is under threat of closure. 

“Museums are where we go to engage with art, witness our psychic history and understand ourselves” said Anish Kapoor. “Today they face great difficulty. The Art Fund campaign gives us an opportunity to help museums to continue to provide access to all in spite of the difficulties of this time.”

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