Double win for Ashmolean as it scoops share of £75,000 Art Fund Collect funding pot and makes Art Fund Prize shortlist
News of this win comes one day after it was announced that the Museum has also made the shortlist of the prestigious £100,000 Art Fund Prize.
The Ashmolean is one of five museums to win a share of £75,000 to buy their selected object thanks to Art Fund Collect, an initiative aimed at championing contemporary craft and increasing its presence in UK collections. Art Fund Collect is run by membership charity the Art Fund and the Crafts Council, the national development agency for contemporary craft in the UK.
Art Fund Collect took place yesterday, 13 May, the preview day of COLLECT, the Crafts Council’s international art fair for contemporary objects at London’s Saatchi Gallery.
Ahead of private buyers, short-listed curators had one hour to go around the fair and pick an object to acquire on behalf of their museum or gallery. Final selections were submitted to an expert panel of judges, who decided which curators should win a share of the £75,000 funding pot to acquire their chosen object outright.
Timothy Wilson, Keeper of Art at the Ashmolean, is one of five winners of Art Fund Collect. He selected Calm Contortion Wine Cooler, 2008 by Ndidi Ekubia for £28,500. This large-scale, tactile vessel is made from hammer-raised Britannia silver. Manchester-born Ekubia is recognised as an outstanding young talent, following in the footsteps of renowned silversmith Hiroshi Suzuki.
Timothy Wilson said: “We are extremely grateful to the Art Fund and the Crafts Council for their ongoing support of contemporary crafts in the UK through Art Fund Collect. Since the Ashmolean opened its new galleries to the public last year, contemporary silver and ceramics have a far greater display role than ever before. Although our silver collection is relatively small it represents some of the finest designers working in Britain. I am thrilled that this beautiful silver vessel by Ndidi Ekubia will go on public display for all to admire.”
Stephen Deuchar, Director of the Art Fund, said: “It's a delight to see five winning curators each walking away from Art Fund Collect with an extraordinary new object for their collections. Art Fund Collect is a smart and swift way of boosting public collections with the best of international contemporary craft. It’s also frankly fun - offering curators from across the country a chance to mingle, exchange ideas and soak up the atmosphere of the fair, alongside the excitement of the competition itself.”
Rosy Greenlees, Executive Director of the Crafts Council, said: “Once again, Art Fund Collect enables museums and galleries to acquire ambitious, bold and innovative contemporary craft. Making it possible for people to see contemporary craft in public collections is at the centre of the Crafts Council’s vision and Art Fund Collect is a key way that we make this happen. My congratulations to the Ashmolean on its success this year.”
The other four winners of Art Fund Collect 2010 are: Aberdeen Art Gallery; the Royal Albert Memorial Museum & Art Gallery, Exeter; Shipley Art Gallery, Gateshead; and the Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester.
Now in its third year, Art Fund Collect was set up by the Art Fund and the Crafts Council in 2008 as a way of championing contemporary craft. Since winners are able to acquire their chosen objects on the spot, Art Fund Collect has proven to be an effective way of boosting public collections with international contemporary craft. Over the past three years, Art Fund Collect has made £200,000 available for contemporary craft acquisitions for public collections.
The Art Fund Collect judging panel comprises Art Fund Director Stephen Deuchar, Ex Chairman of the Crafts Council and the Art Fund Sir Nicholas Goodison, Executive Director of the Crafts Council Rosy Greenlees, Art Fund Trustee Jonathan Marsden and renowned ceramic artist Edmund de Waal.
A total of eleven museums and galleries were short-listed to take part in Art Fund Collect this year, out of a total of 21 applications from across the UK. Last year, 23 institutions applied, ten were short-listed and five won a significant object to add to their public collections.
Each of the eleven objects chosen by short-listed curators can be seen at COLLECT, which runs from 14 – 17 May at the Saatchi Gallery, Duke of York’s HQ, King’s Road, London SW3 4SQ.
The Ashmolean is also one of the four museums short-listed for this year’s Art Fund Prize, worth £100,000. Please visit www.artfundprize.org.uk to find out more.
The Art Fund is a membership charity that helps museums and galleries buy works of art for all to enjoy through awarding grants, campaigning and fundraising. Recent highlights include the £3.3 million campaign to save the Staffordshire Hoard, a fundraising initiative that was kick-started with a £300,000 Art Fund grant. The Fund is financed by the generosity of its 80,000 members and supporters who have a passion for art and the institutions that house great collections. For more information contact the Press Office on 020 7225 4888 or visit www.artfund.org.
The Crafts Council is the national development agency for contemporary craft in the UK. The Crafts Council’s goal is to make the UK the best place to make, see, collect and learn about contemporary craft.
• We believe that craft plays a dynamic and vigorous role in the UK’s social, economic and cultural life.
• We believe that everyone should have the opportunity to make, see, collect and learn about craft.
• We believe that the strength of craft lies in its use of traditional and contemporary techniques, ideas and materials to make extraordinary new work.
• We believe that the future of craft lies in nurturing talent; children and young people must be able to learn about craft at school and have access to excellent teaching throughout their education.
For further information about the Crafts Council visit www.craftscouncil.org.uk
The Crafts Council is supported by Arts Council England. Arts Council England works to get great art to everyone by championing, developing and investing in artistic experiences that enrich people's lives. As the national development agency for the arts, it supports a range of artistic activities from theatre to music, literature to dance, photography to digital art, and carnival to crafts. Between 2008 and 2011, Arts Council England will invest £1.3 billion of public money from government and a further £0.3 billion from the National Lottery to create these experiences for as many people as possible across the country