Art Fund International is the £5 million funding initiative launched by the Art Fund in 2007 to encourage UK regional museums and galleries to build outstanding collections of international contemporary art. One of the most ambitious schemes ever launched by the Art Fund, the initiative allocated £1 million each to five successful partnerships between UK museums and contemporary art organisations, to fund the creation of collections of international contemporary art over a period of five years, thus encouraging a radical change in the scale and ambition of contemporary art collecting in the UK.
The successful applicants were Bristol Museums Galleries and Archives, Gallery of Modern Art, Glasgow, Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art, Towner Art Gallery, Eastbourne and the partnership of Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery and the New Art Gallery, Wallsall. The museums and galleries involved are acquiring works through Art Fund International until 2012. At a time when regional museums are starved of resources for acquisitions this is one of the most important initiatives undertaken in recent years.
Jeremy Lewison was approached by the Art Fund to act as a mentor to the Bristol project and he has been advising the Bristol curators (including their partners at Arnolfini) since 2009. Drawing on his extensive public sector experience in directing the Tate acquisition programme, he has helped them to devise an operating procedure and an acquisitions strategy, which are now being successfully enacted.
To date major works have been acquired by the Lebanese artist, Walid Raad, and the Korean artist, Hague Yang. An exhibition of Bristol’s AFI acquisitions is planned for 2012. For further information on AFI click here.