Art Fund Announces New Funding Programme In Response To Covid-19

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  • Date added:3 months ago
First published: 16 June 2020, by Art Fund

Following our recent research into the impact of the pandemic on the cultural sector, Art Fund’s revised funding programme will provide support and resources to museums and galleries across the UK as they look to navigate an uncertain future.

After consulting hundreds of museum directors and arts professionals about the needs of museums and galleries now and in the future, our newly adapted funding programme will make more than £2m available in support through grants and strategic partnerships to support re-opening and beyond.

Our director Jenny Waldman says: ‘The future of our museums and galleries, which are so vital to society, is far from certain. Art Fund is putting every effort into helping museums through the current crisis, informed by our recent report into what museums and galleries need, and following the exceptional immediate response from public funders which provided a lifeline for many organisations. We encourage all those at immediate risk or re-imagining future ways of working to get in touch.

‘However, these steps alone will not secure the future – more help is required. We are now fundraising so we can continue to support museums and galleries and we're calling for everyone to come together now to help museums and galleries adapt and thrive during the biggest challenge in our lifetime.’

The recent Covid-19 Impact report identified four key areas of need: the future of collections and exhibitions, digital skills and infrastructure, reopening and encouraging audiences back, and supporting a passionate and skilled workforce.

In response, we’re making £1.5m available this year in Respond and Reimagine Grants. Open for applications from today, this flexible and responsive funding will be led by the needs of museums and meet immediate requirements in the four priority areas, as well as encouraging creative and innovative projects as organisations look to re-open with fundamentally different operating models.

The grants might help organisations identify works at risk; ensure works or objects related to the pandemic are collected or commissioned; or support previously planned exhibitions to take place. They might support the improvement of digital skills and help raise income through digital, build staff confidence and adaptability, cover practical costs associated with re-opening, and preserve museum roles. The grants may also support museums unable to access sufficient public funding to prevent immediate insolvency.

Secondly, three new strategic partnerships are also being launched to further strengthen our support. A £280,000 partnership with the Museum Development Network will distribute additional grants prioritising museums who have not yet received public funding and smaller museums fulfilling specific cultural or local needs. £150,000 will be provided in seed funding for the newly established Museums and Galleries Network for Exhibition Touring to support an ambitious programme for co-curated, collections-based exhibitions to tour nationally. Finally, a £35,000 collaboration with Clore Leadership will support sector professionals to build skills, competencies and connections now and into the future.

Our existing programme will also be bolstered with an additional £250,000 made available through Small Project Grants and Professional Network Grants – two responsive, flexible, quick-turnaround funds to help museums reach audiences, improve digital infrastructure, and develop professional networks, which have been open from the outset of the Covid-19 pandemic. These funding programmes have already been used effectively by a variety of cultural organisations from Ditchling Museum of Art + Craft to the Queer Heritage and Collections Network. Applications for acquisition grants will continue to be welcomed as usual and our work supporting gifts and bequests will remain unchanged.

We also have several free digital services available to support museums with ticketing, crowdfunding and audience engagement. Art Tickets is designed to help organisations with capacity, online ticketing and timed entry as they navigate the complexities of reopening their doors in a world of social distancing; while Art Happens can be used to fund a range of creative projects and develop a new, highly engaged donor base.

Lastly, free professional development opportunities and materials, including new case studies and other learning resources, will also be made available as part of an ongoing strengthening of Art Fund’s support to museum professionals in this area.

Find out more about Art Fund’s revised funding programmes for museums, galleries and arts professionals or please do get in touch with our team directly.


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