Museums and galleries are facing uncertain futures due to months of closures, long-term cancellations, and new hygiene regulations. Art Fund, the London-based charitable organisation, will now offer £2 million in grants in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, which will help this industry recover after lockdown.
“The future of our museums and galleries, which are so vital to society, is far from certain,” announced Jenny Waldman, the director of Art Fund.
Major financial difficulties are currently posing a very real threat to the museums and heritage sectors following 12 weeks of lost visitor income. By establishing these grants, Art Fund intends to “prevent immediate insolvency” of many institutions.
Its Covid-19 impact survey collated responses from over 400 hundred museum professionals and directors. Art Fund found that 56% of museum directors are concerned about the financial viability of their organisations and a staggering 85% believe it will be difficult to attract visitors back.
Four key areas were identified by the report as requiring the most attention going forward: collections and exhibitions, digital skills and infrastructure, reopening and encouraging audiences to return, and supporting staff.
Museums, galleries, historic houses, libraries and archives can all apply to the ‘Respond and Reimagine’ grants of between £10,000 and £50,000 from today. According to the Art Fund website, the scheme is particularly focused towards “museums that are unable to access sufficient emergency public funding.”
In partnership with the Museum Development Network, grants under £10,000 will also be offered to small organisations. All existing grant schemes run by Art Fund will be awarded an additional £250,000.
Alongside these generous grants, the charity is organising an initiative to bring together museums across the country. ‘Museums and Galleries Network for Exhibition Touring’ (MAGNET) will produce collaborative, nationally touring exhibitions sourced from the collections of twelve organizations, including the Bristol Museums and Glasgow Museums.
In the coming months, the newly adapted funding programme will provide a much needed boost to the UK arts industry and Waldman urged “all those at immediate risk or re-imagining future ways of working to get in touch.” Art Fund is encouraging its 150,000 members and the public as well to “come together for museums” by donating.