Art Fund charity campaign to help region’s museums and galleries

The charity Art Fund has launched a crowdfunding campaign to raise £1 million in aid of the nation’s museums, 60% of which fear for their survival.

The coronavirus pandemic, lockdowns and social distancing restrictions have had a huge impact on the UK’s 2,500 museums this year, yet only 55% of them have so far received emergency funding.

Art Fund’s Join Together for Museums campaign aims to help with this.

Art Fund has already committed to awarding £2.25 million through its Respond and Reimagine fund.

Many museums have had to take steps to reinvent themselves in light of likely ongoing restrictions in a bid to stay afloat, and the cash boost from Art Fund aims to help them do this.

The latest round of recipients include Salford Museum and Art Gallery, which will create a learning programme allowing visitors to engage with its collections both physically and digitally.

Other recipients of grants are responding to the pandemic through community projects, such as Lakeland Arts in Cumbria, which will develop a “Museum on the Move” project to engage with people in remote parts of the county.

Jenny Waldman, the director of Art Fund, said: “Over the last six months it’s been hugely inspiring to see innovative ideas from museums to adapt and evolve, but heartbreaking that we cannot support them all.”

Art Fund’s research also reveals that 77% of organisations have faced a significant or severe drop in income, and 61% of staff in museums and galleries fear for their job.

The charity has received funding applications from 451 organisations but has been able to support just 17% of them.

Ms Waldman said: “Single-handedly, we cannot solve this crisis – but together, we can make a huge impact.

“We are urging everyone who loves and uses museums to come together now, to help so many more museums thrive.”

Rewards on offer for supporters of the Together for Museums campaign include specially created objects and artworks by Anish Kapoor, Lubaina Himid and David Shrigley.

“As a child I visited museums with my mother,” said Ms Himid, a Turner Prize-winning artist.

“It’s essential that museums, so many of which are free to visit, are supported through this crisis and are there to inspire the next generation.”

Photo credit: Richard Rogerson

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