New funding scheme for sharing works of art across the UK

The Weston Loan Programme with Art Fund is the first ever grant programme specifically designed to directly fund and empower regional and smaller local authority museums to borrow major works or collections of art from the UK’s national museums and galleries. The scheme will help widen access to works from the national collections for audiences across the country, strengthen the skills of up to 100 regional museum professionals, and distribute resources across the UK.

The scheme will open on 6 July 2017 for individual applications of between £5,000 – £25,000 and the successful museums for year one of the three-year funding programme will be announced in December. Loans of works of art will go on display from 2018 onwards.

They encourage interested UK museums to participate in one of the Preparing to Borrow workshops taking place around the country from April to September, run by Touring Exhibitions Group (TEG).

Stephen Deuchar, Art Fund director, said: ‘We know that our national museums want to widen public access to the collections they hold and that organisations around the UK want more opportunities to borrow and display these collections. Our new scheme will not only provide the funds to make this possible but also broker new relationships between museums, help give curators the skills they need and empower museums to determine their own priorities in direct response to local audiences. We encourage all interested museums to apply.’

Grants to museums will cover costs including transportation of works of art and objects, insurance, conservation, installation, advocacy, marketing and audience development. The £750,000 initiative will award a minimum of £600,000 in grants, provide up to £100,000 for training and networking opportunities for museum professionals, and cover up to £50,000 in detailed evaluation and reporting of key learnings for the scheme and sector.

The Weston Loan Programme with Art Fund is intended to complement Arts Council England’s ‘Ready to Borrow’ scheme and TEG’s ‘Preparing to Borrow’ programme as part of a joined-up funding approach to all stages of securing loans of works. The charities are working closely with TEG and other partners to highlight the range of opportunities available.

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