ashmolean

News item from 2010

The Art Fund Prize

The Ashmolean Long-Listed for 100,000 Art Fund Prize

The Ashmolean Museum in Oxford is one of eleven institutions long-listed for the £100,000 Art Fund Prize, the UK’s largest single arts prize. The long list has been selected by a panel of Judges chaired this year by broadcaster Kirsty Young.

Traditionally the long list comprises ten, but for the 2010 Prize eleven institutions have been nominated, attesting to the high quality and volume of applications received.

The Ashmolean Museum is one of the great university museums of the world that extends and enhances public access to its remarkable collections of art and archaeology and is nominated for an ambitious redevelopment. The sensitively executed £61 million redevelopment, designed by award-winning Rick Mather Architects, has extended the Grade 1 listed building to provide 39 new galleries, an education centre, rooftop restaurant, conservation studios, study rooms and stores.

Of the nomination, Christopher Brown, Director of The Ashmolean said: “To be long-listed
for the Art Fund Prize is a great honour for us. From the outset, our ambition has been to
create not just an improved and expanded version of Britain’s oldest public museum, but
something significantly different in kind: a new way of showcasing the Ashmolean’s
remarkable collections, for the benefit of the widest possible audience.”

The £100,000 prize is awarded to the museum or gallery for a project completed in the last
year, that the Judges deem demonstrates the most originality, imagination and excellence.
The Prize, which has been sponsored by the UK’s leading independent art charity, The Art
Fund, for three years, aims to increase public appreciation and enjoyment of the UK’s
museums and galleries.

This year two new institutions are celebrated through nomination; Great North Museum in
Newcastle and Towner in Eastbourne. The long list includes the rescue and restoration of The
Leach Pottery in St Ives, the world’s most influential studio pottery established by Bernard
Leach and Shoji Hamada in 1920. Following a three year development, The Ulster Museum in
Belfast also features.

The eleven long-listed museums and galleries are: 

 The Ashmolean Museum, Oxford
 Blists Hill Victorian Town, Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust
 Great North Museum: Hancock, Newcastle
 Hampton Court Palace, Surrey, for Henry VIII: heads and hearts
 The Herbert Art Gallery and Museum, Coventry
 The Leach Pottery, St Ives
 The National Army Museum, London, for Conflicts of Interest
 The Natural History Museum, London, for the Darwin Centre
 The Royal Institution of Great Britain, for Science in the Making
 Towner, Eastbourne
 The Ulster Museum, Belfast

Kirsty Young, Chair of the Judges comments: “My fellow Judges and I deliberated
passionately and at length, and even then it was impossible to select less than eleven for the
long list. The quality of applications was simply outstanding. We are delighted with our
selection and feel that this year’s long list demonstrates a snapshot of the UK’s incredible
cultural offerings.”

Stephen Deuchar, Director of The Art Fund, comments: “This year’s long-listed museums and
galleries have shown such depth of imagination and drive; they are a testament to the wealth
of culture on offer right across the UK. I for one can’t wait to see how the judges’ journeys
unfold from now until the end of June when the winner is announced.”

The Judges will travel the UK to visit each of the eleven long-listed museums and galleries
before selecting a short list of four, to be announced at the end of May 2010. The winner of
the £100,000 prize will be announced on Wednesday 30 June 2010 at the Royal Institute of
British Architects in London.

The 2010 judging panel comprises:

 Kirsty Young (Chairman), broadcaster
 Kathy Gee, museums and heritage adviser
 Professor A C Grayling, Professor of Philosophy, Birkbeck College, London
 Professor J Steve Jones, Professor of Genetics, University College London
 Sally Osman, communications consultant and former Director of Communications, BBC
 Lars Tharp, Director, The Foundling Museum and BBC Antiques Roadshow expert
 Jonathan Yeo, artist

The public can vote for their favourite long-listed institution and leave comments for the
Judges on the Art Fund Prize website telling the Judges why they should win. The poll results
and online comments will be given to the Judges for their consideration when selecting the
Short List and Winner. Visitors to the website can enter an exclusive competition to win a
limited edition Jonathan Yeo print.

To vote, comment or for more information about the Prize go to: www.artfundprize.org.uk
Sky Arts returns as the TV Media partner for this years’ Art Fund Prize and will go behind the
scenes in a 30 minute documentary that will broadcast on Sky Arts 2 HD throughout May and
June. The documentary will take a look at each of the long-listed museums and galleries and
follows the developing story as the panel of judges visit the eleven venues all vying for the
prestigious £100,000 prize.

For more information go to: www.skyarts.co.uk/artfundprize

• The Art Fund Prize for museums and galleries is administered by the Museum Prize Trust, a
charitable company created in 2002 by The Art Fund, the Campaign for Museums, the
Museums Association and National Heritage. Its trustees are Penelope, Viscountess Cobham
(Chair), James Bishop (National Heritage), Ylva French, Mark Taylor (Museums Association),
Sam Mullins and Sandy Nairne (representing The Art Fund).

• The Museum Prize is registered as a company in England and Wales No. 421870 and a charity
No. 1093174. Registered Office: 24 Calvin Street, London E1 6NW.

• The Wedgwood Museum in Stoke-on-Trent was awarded The Art Fund Prize in 2009 and the
2008 winner was The Lightbox museum and gallery in Woking. Previous winners of the then
Gulbenkian Prize include Pallant House Gallery, Chichester (2007), Brunel’s ss Great Britain,
Bristol (2006), Big Pit: National Mining Museum of Wales, Blaenafon (2005), The Scottish
Gallery of Modern Art for Landform by Charles Jencks (2004), and the National Centre for
Citizenship and the Law at the Galleries of Justice, Nottingham (2003).

• The Art Fund is the UK’s leading independent art charity. It offers grants to help UK museums
and galleries enrich their collections; campaigns on behalf of museums and their visitors; and
promotes the enjoyment of art. It is entirely funded from public donations and has 80,000
members. Since 1903 the charity has helped museums and galleries all over the UK secure
over 860,000 works of art for their collections. Recent achievements include: helping secure
Anthony d’Offay’s collection, ARTIST ROOMS, for the nation in February 2008 with a grant of
£1million, and touring the collection throughout the UK in 2009 and 2010; and creating the
‘Buy a Brushstroke’ public appeal which raised over £550,000 to keep Turner’s Blue Rigi in the
UK. For more information contact The Art Fund Press Office on 020 7225 4888 or visit
www.artfund.org.

• Opened in 1683, the Ashmolean houses the University of Oxford’s collections of art and
archaeology. They span the civilisations of east and west, charting the aspirations of mankind
from the Neolithic era to the present day. Among its treasures are the world’s finest group of
Raphael drawings, the most substantial collection of pre-Dynastic Egyptian material in Europe,
the only significant Minoan collection in Britain, the greatest Anglo-Saxon collections outside
of the British Museum, and the foremost collection of modern Chinese art in the Western
world.

19-Feb-2010

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