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Published 6th Apr 2011

James Beighton with Bracelet by Giovanni Corvaja an Art Fund Collect purchase from 2009.

The Art Fund and the Crafts Council today announce that mima has been shortlisted for the fourth time running for Art Fund Collect, a £75,000 scheme bringing outstanding pieces of contemporary craft to museums and galleries across the UK.

mima Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art is one of eight museums and galleries in the running this year.

Art Fund Collect is a joint scheme run by the Art Fund and the Crafts Council. It offers curators the chance to pick a unique piece of craft at COLLECT, the Crafts Council’s international art fair for contemporary objects. Successful curators win a share of £75,000 to buy their chosen object outright on behalf of their museum or gallery.

James Beighton, curator, will take part in the scheme on behalf of mima for the fourth time. He has competed each year since the scheme started in 2008, and has twice been a winner. He will be joined this year by Vicky Sturrs, Education Officer at mima.

James Beighton said: “When the value of culture is being questioned from so many angles it is reassuring to know that the Art Fund is able to recognise how essential it is for museums to continue to collect today’s culture and preserve it to become tomorrow’s heritage. Art Fund Collect is one of our only opportunities to acquire important works for our craft collection, but more than that it proves to be one of the most important dates in our calendar, giving us the opportunity to see the very best of contemporary craft assembled in one place.”

The other shortlisted curators and their seven respective institutions are:

  1. Fiona Slattery and Martin Ellis, Curators of Applied Arts at Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery
  2. Rachel Conroy, Assistant Curator at National Museum Wales - Amgueddfa Cymru
  3. Penny Sexton, Curator & Holly Morgenroth, Assistant Curator of Natural History at the Royal Albert Memorial Museum, Exeter
  4. Polly Putnam, Assistant Curator of Decorative Arts at Leeds Museums & Galleries
  5. Francesca Vanke, Curator of Decorative Arts at Norwich Castle Museum & Art Gallery
  6. Pamela Wood, Keeper of Decorative Arts and Deborah Dean, Visual Arts and Exhibitions Manager at Nottingham Castle Museum & Art Gallery
  7. Alison Cooper, Assistant Keeper of Art at Plymouth City Museum & Art Gallery

Stephen Deuchar, Director of the Art Fund, said: “It’s fantastic to see that Art Fund Collect continues to draw some of the UK’s most talented curators, and we’re pleased that this year’s shortlist includes past competitors as well as some new names. This is a fantastic opportunity to snap up outstanding pieces from international makers at the top of their field, on behalf of the public collections across the UK. We wish all competitors the best of luck, and as ever encourage them to be bold and ambitious in their choices.”

Rosy Greenlees, Executive Director of the Crafts Council, said: ““Art Fund Collect is such a significant scheme for contemporary craft in the UK. As the Crafts Council celebrates its 40th anniversary this year by focusing on, and developing, our own collection it is heartening to see the desire of curators across the UK to collect world-class contemporary craft for their institutional collections.”

Art Fund Collect takes place on 5 May 2011, the preview day of COLLECT which is being held at the Saatchi Gallery for the third year running.

James Beighton and the other shortlisted curators will access the fair ahead of private buyers and VIPs, and one day before doors open to the public. They will have just one hour to go around the 37 international galleries represented at COLLECT and pick one object they wish to add to their museum or gallery’s public collection.

Curators are then required to justify their choice in a verbal presentation to the panel of judges. Winners are selected according to the vision and ambition they demonstrate. The Art Fund buys the winning objects on behalf of each successful museum or gallery.

At Art Fund Collect in 2009, James Beighton won the intricate gold Bracelet by Giovanni Corvaja, worth £27,750. In 2008 he snapped up the dramatic, large-scale pot, Monumental Vase V by Julian Stair, worth £25,263.

About Art Fund Collect

Art Fund Collect was set up by the Art Fund and Crafts Council in 2008 as a way of boosting public collections with the best of international contemporary craft. To date, the scheme has contributed £200,000 towards the purchase of unique works for the public to enjoy.

Useful links

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@artfund on twitter


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