Museums of the yr: Artwork Fund names 5 joint winners of UK’s largest arts prize

Museums of the year: Art Fund names five joint winners of UK’s biggest arts prize


Towner Eastbourne on England’s south coast
Photograph: Marc Atkins

From a transformed nuclear bunker in a distant village to a high-tech UK nationwide museum, the 5 joint winners of the Artwork Fund Museum of the 12 months 2020 award have been revealed. In a BBC tv broadcast this night, the artist Grayson Perry introduced that Aberdeen Artwork Gallery, Gairloch Museum, the Science Museum, South London Gallery and Towner Eastbourne will share this yr’s elevated £200,000 prize cash equally.

The Artwork Fund charity modified the format of the prize—the UK’s largest arts award—this summer season in response to the “unprecedented challenges” of the coronavirus disaster. Earlier winners together with the Hepworth Wakefield in 2017, Tate St Ives in 2018 and St Fagans Nationwide Museum of Historical past in Cardiff final yr obtained £100,000, whereas 4 shortlisted finalists took £10,000 every.

This yr’s chosen 5 are “distinctive examples of museums providing inspiration, reflection and pleasure within the coronary heart of communities”, says Jenny Waldman, the director of Artwork Fund, in an announcement. UK museums “will help rebuild our communities and confidence as we emerge from the virus”, she says, if they will get well from the “monetary peril” wrought by the lockdown earlier this yr. “Not solely do we’d like sustained funding from authorities, however we encourage everybody to go and discover their native museum—they want our assist now.”

Waldman made the choice along with the judges Jago Cooper, the British Museum’s curator of the Americas; the artist Ryan Gander; Melanie Eager, the director of the Wellcome Assortment; and chair of the panel, Liz Forgan, a former journalist and trustee of the Artwork Fund.


Aberdeen Artwork Gallery reopened after a £35m refurbishment final November
Photograph: Marc Atkins

Aberdeen Artwork Gallery is well known for its triumphant £35m refurbishment final November, which elevated the variety of works on show from 370 to 1,080. “We welcomed over 100,000 guests in 100 days after which instantly, we had been closed once more,” says Christine Rew, the gallery and museums supervisor for Aberdeen Metropolis Council. Having reopened in late August after a five-month shutdown, the Museum of the 12 months award is “the perfect ‘welcome again’ current conceivable”, she says.


Contained in the Gairloch Museum, housed in a repurposed Chilly Conflict-era bunker
Photograph: Marc Atkins

Within the distant northwest Scottish highlands, the community-led Gairloch Museum received for its personal bold transformation, repurposing a semi-derelict Chilly Conflict bunker into a brand new constructing for its assortment of regionally donated artefacts. Compelled to maneuver by an expiring lease and funding cuts, the museum realised the £2.4m redevelopment with the assistance of 120 native volunteers. Curator Karen Buchanan says the prize cash will assist a brand new outside house and the “experience and gear to revamp our occasions and outreach programme for a sustainable, digital future”.


South London Gallery is presently exhibiting immersive environments by Ann Veronica Janssens
Photograph: Marc Atkins

Having displayed modern artwork for 97 and 129 years respectively, Towner Eastbourne on England’s south coast and the South London Gallery (SLG) had been each recognised as free artwork areas serving numerous communities. In accordance with Margot Heller, the SLG’s director, the Museum of the 12 months award will fund a brand new artwork fee and make sure that training programmes proceed regardless of the “monetary insecurity introduced by lockdown”. Towner’s director, Joe Hill, says the gallery’s prize winnings can be channelled into its 2023 centenary celebrations.

Each galleries had been additionally named as we speak as beneficiaries of the UK authorities’s £1.57bn emergency funding package deal serving to arts organisations to outlive the pandemic, with Towner receiving a grant of £140,500 and the South London Gallery £387,588.


The Science Museum in London
Photograph: Marc Atkins

By far the most important of the Artwork Fund’s museums of the yr, the nationwide Science Museum in London can also be planning to spend its prize cash on supporting native audiences. The museum, which partnered with Samsung to tour astronaut Tim Peake’s spacecraft across the UK in 2017-19 and launched two new everlasting galleries final yr, will provide outreach classes to “native college youngsters from communities that aren’t in a position to presently go to the museum”, says Ian Blatchford, the director of the Science Museum Group, “in order that we proceed to encourage futures past our museum partitions”.

Jenny Waldman and all 5 of the museum leaders will participate in a web-based panel dialogue moderated by The Artwork Newspaper’s assessment editor and podcast host, Ben Luke, at 11am on 13 October, exploring the challenges and improvements of museums in 2020.

  • The Artwork Newspaper is the official media companion for the Artwork Fund Museum of the 12 months 2020 award
  • Register for the Zoom webinar occasion “Meet the winners: Artwork Fund Museum of the 12 months 2020” right here or watch the livestream on the Artwork Fund YouTube channel

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