The national art charity Art Fund has launched a fundraising campaign to enable more young people to engage with museums and galleries.
The Energise Young Minds campaign hopes to raise £1m to support programmes for younger audiences in 2022 across the UK’s museums and galleries. Art Fund has already committed £500,000 from its charitable reserves and a further £50,000 from its National Art Pass members towards the campaign.
The charity said the £1m pledge “represents a major commitment to fuelling museum visiting for the next generation, after months of disruptions for both museums and young people nationwide”.
Art Fund said a recent survey of its members had found that a third of museums have no published offer for schools and young people. It said museum opportunities for younger audiences have been especially vulnerable to budget cuts, with widespread redundancies among museum learning and engagement teams during the pandemic.
Another Art Fund survey of more than 230 teachers from state schools showed that only 32% were aware of professional development opportunities to use museums to improve learning outcomes in their teaching.
The charity said breaking down barriers for the next generation of museum visitors is “one of the most urgent priorities for the sector following the pandemic”.
Jenny Waldman, director of Art Fund, said: “There is an almost perfect storm brewing. During lockdown, school trips to museums and galleries were not possible – and it’s not clear that these will resume at previous levels. Meanwhile, cash-strapped cultural institutions have had to make difficult decisions that have often had an impact on learning teams.
“We cannot allow cultural poverty for kids and must act now to help young people, those with least access to experiencing the arts, have opportunities to enjoy all that the UK’s museums can offer.
“This age group has missed out after enormous disruption to their learning and wellbeing and we know those in the most deprived areas have been hit hardest. I would encourage everyone who cares about children and young people having access to culture to donate whatever they can afford. Even a small amount will make a huge difference.”
Cultural figures including the poet Lemn Sissay and the artist Bob and Roberta Smith have lent their support to the campaign.
Meanwhile, the charity has also announced the recipients of the latest round of the Headley Fellowships with Art Fund programme, which supports curators to develop specialist knowledge about public collections. The 11 curators in the latest round will share £302,500 to conduct in-depth research into their collections.
Latest Headley Fellowships
- Jack Ashby, assistant director, University Museum of Zoology, Cambridge – researching the history of the Australian mammals collection, exploring the human stories of how collectors worked in the past to shed light on the links between natural history and colonial history, and to highlight previously little-known figures who contributed expertise, such as women and Indigenous collectors.
- Rachel Atherton, co-production curator, Derby Museums – researching Derby Museums’ Egyptology Collections, with the aim of enabling the museum to investigate and challenge traditionally told histories of ancient Egypt.
- Bret Gaunt, project officer, Buxton Museum and Art Gallery, Buxton – restitution of Native American and First Nations objects acquired by the museum as part of a transfer of material from the Derbyshire School Library Service, including fully researching the artefacts and showcasing them at the museum.
- Tehmina Goskar, director and curator, Curatorial Research Centre, Helston – examining the history of the museum’s collections, charting the impact of collecting turning-points and examining ethical issues, while developing a toolkit for the sector. The project also includes the co-curation of an exhibition in Camborne to share the collections of the former Camborne Museum with local audiences.
- Dominique Heyse-Moore, head of collections and exhibitions, Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester – researching and reinterpreting the museum’s world textile collection, aiming to tell a genuinely global story of textiles at the Whitworth.
- Frances Houston, curator, Scottish Crannog Centre – Researching Early Iron Age pottery, examining two pottery assemblages, both dated c.500BC but with differences in fabric, quality and decoration, that have never been catalogued, examined or displayed before, and creating a new museum display around them.
- Kathleen Lawther, freelance curator, Powell-Cotton Museum, Birchington, Kent – Museum Makers, a project using the museum’s archive and photographic collections to research and tell the stories of the people who made the museum’s natural history and ethnographic collections possible, aiming to create a digital record of previously marginalised museum makers.
- Alex Patterson, assistant curator of fine art, Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool – Decolonising the Sculpture Collection. This project will on focus on key artists working from the mid-18th to the late-19th century, including the sculptor John Gibson (1790-1866). By working with Liverpool’s Black and Minority Ethnic communities and conducting vital new research, it will transform how the collection is interpretated and address the erasure and absence of Liverpool’s history relating to slavery, empire and colonialism from the gallery’s collections.
- Adrian Plau, Wellcome Collection, London – building a model for responsible repatriation manuscript by cataloguing and researching provenance of the museum’s Jain manuscript collection from South Asia.
- Fiona Poole, senior curator, York Castle Museum – researching the museum’s collection of objects relating to York’s main confectionary businesses, unpicking the human stories behind the museum’s holdings by researching previously recorded oral testimonies, archives, and objects.
- Kathryn Warburton, curator, Macclesfield Silk Museum – Machines and Memories: 20th Century Industrial Silk Machinery, a project to reinvigorate a collection of Macclesfield’s 20 century silk machinery, uncovering hidden stories relating to the machines’ industrial impact and the lives of people who operated them.
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Ladysmith Arts Council hopes a provincial grant can help get the art gallery back into its old venue – Ladysmith Chronicle – Ladysmith Chronicle
The Arts Council of Ladysmith and District has an opportunity to apply for a BC Arts Council grant, which could help the Waterfront Art Gallery return to its old venue at the Ladysmith Machine Shop. It requested a letter of support from the Town of Ladysmith, which was discussed at council’s Nov. 30 special meeting.
The grant could provide up to $250,000 for renovations of the old building. There is $4 million in the provincial fund to be distributed to arts organizations and the deadline to apply is Jan. 14. After discussing the letter, town council referred the issue back to staff to gather more information on the proposed project and grant application.
“We are disappointed of course because we feel uncertain about our future,” said Kathy Holmes, president of the arts council. “At this point, the arts council is going to be looking at all sort of avenues to find a home — wherever that is, permanently or temporarily.”
The grant application requires a detailed outline of the proposed project, with milestones and a timeline and it is required to have a completion date before the end of 2024.
Mayor Stone said the town would likely not hear back about the grant application within a year and it would take another year or two for design and construction work. “I am fully supportive of the concept of this — I just don’t see in my most optimistic viewpoint that we could find it as a reality between now and the end of 2024,” he said.
Coun. Duck Paterson said the town does not yet know when tenants will be able to return to the Machine Shop or where the funds to renovate it will come from — the grant, if successful, would only provide a portion. He questioned whether the town has the staff time and resources to help the arts council complete the application.
“We definitely have the staff to look after some of this. We do have a lot of this information we have compiled over the years through the Machine Shop project,” said Chris Barfoot, director of parks, recreation and culture. He added the town has cost estimates, but they are from 2018–19 and would have to be updated.
In order to find ways to plan a phased approach for the project, he said staff would have to go back and work with consultants. “We know that there is a price to complete the entire project. It would be a matter of how do we achieve a phased approach and what type of services and utilities need to be addressed to do that.”
Coun. Marsh Stevens supported sending the item back to staff to get more details to consider at the next council meeting. “I love that they are taking initiative as a community group to do this but I want them to be successful,” he said.
Paterson suggested the town give a letter of support for a separate part of the grant, which could provide $25,000 to assist with planning and consultation. “I know that’s not what they want, but I think it would be easier for us to accept,” he said.
The arts council will provide an annual presentation to council on Dec. 7 to update the town on its operations.
Rare First Nations Artwork Uncovered at Yukon Friendship Centre – CBC.ca
Staff at the Skookum Jim Friendship Centre were shocked to find 183 art pieces in their basement recently, many of them created by well-known artists.
“This recent discovery during this year of significant hardship has been a very welcome surprise,” said Bill Griffis, the centre’s executive director, in a news release.
The art was originally donated to the non-profit organization in Whitehorse back in 1997, but forgotten over the years as staff left.
Among the pieces found, 28 belonged to the well-known contemporary artist Carl Beam. The other 155 were created by Stephen Snake and other Indigenous artists.
Griffis said the next step is to determine the value of each piece.
“Each one [of Beam’s art pieces] has an appraisal certificate with them,” said Griffis. “Part of the process is to figure out what the value is now because we have a collection [and] there may be some historical value to it.”
Out of the other 155, about a third of them also had appraisals from the late 90s.
Significant impact on Canadian art sector
As one of Canada’s most ground-breaking Indigenous artists, the art from Beam is of particular interest.
He was from M’Chigeeng First Nation, located on Manitoulin Island, Ont. He was born in 1943 and passed away in 2005.
Beam had a significant impact on the Canadian art sector. His work, which ranged from Plexiglass to canva and other media, provoked conversations about the Indigenous experience of injustice in Canada.
Beam’s cousin, Joe Migwans, is a long-time Yukon resident and cultural mentor.
“He was my cousin by blood, but he’s more like my uncle because in our way, when we have a cousin like that, that age, he’s more like my uncle. I always listen to what he said to me because he’s my elder,” explained Migwans.
He said Beam’s work has a powerful message and is even more relevant today.
“He’s basically preserving those kind of snippets in this time and telling, and it kind of like how he perceives the world to be and what his take is on it. And then in the future, people will see kind of what was going on here from from his perspective,” he says.
Towards the end of his life, Beam started to talk more about what life could be or what life is all about, said Migwans.
“What it’s about is overcoming and then achieving something in your life and not having to go through what you did in the past. So your life can move forward. I mean, that’s the vision, right? And a lot of us back home that knew him and worked with him, we always believed that he was more well ahead of his time,” he said.
Migwans said art is used to tell a story and capture a moment in time. He added that most of Beam’s work came from his anger from residential schools and injustices towards Indigenous people.
“Some of the things he would like to really do was to take any stereotype around First Nations people. One of the things was saying our people were dirty Indians. Except there never was. We never were like that,” said Migwans.
5:06Art by Carl Beams and Stephen Snake discovered at the Skookum Jim Friendship Centre in Whitehorse
Beam was the first Indigenous contemporary artist featured at the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa.
“He did it on his own in his own way. Not as a First Nations artist, as the contemporary artist, which means he’s just like anybody else. He’s not under the guise of First Nations or the idea that he’s entitled to something because he’s First Nation.
“He didn’t have to use that as something to get him forward,” said Migwans.
Out of nearly 200 pieces, some will be sold to the public and some to private galleries across Canada.
The remaining pieces will be part of a silent auction on the Friendship Centre’s website from Dec. 4 to the 14th.
The auction is part of a fundraiser between the Skookum Jim Friendship Centre and Sundog Veggies Training Farm.
Heather Finton, owner of Sundong Veggies, said the organization is grateful they can use the found art to raise some money.
“Not only is this artwork like amazing and so timely but the way that some of these gifts are going to be available to the community to support the work Skookum does is … it’s just a privilege to be part of these amazing story,” she said.
The two organizations have been collaborating since 2020 for the community lunch program which feeds several families in Whitehorse. They share a goal of building food security in the Yukon and creating opportunities to develop land-based skills.
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