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Five Museums Win Share of 75,000 Pound Contemporary Craft Funding Pot

LONDON.- The Art Fund and the Crafts Council are delighted to announce that five museums and galleries have each won an outstanding piece of contemporary craft to add to their permanent collections. They have won a share of £75,000 to buy their selected object thanks to Art Fund Collect, a nationwide initiative aimed at championing contemporary craft and increasing its presence in UK collections. Art Fund Collect is run by membership charity the Art Fund and the Crafts Council, the national development agency for contemporary craft in the UK .

This year’s winners of Art Fund Collect are: Aberdeen Art Gallery ; the Ashmolean Museum , Oxford ; the Royal Albert Memorial Museum & Art Gallery, Exeter ; Shipley Art Gallery , Gateshead; and the Whitworth Art Gallery , Manchester .

Aberdeen Art Gallery selected Spin, 2010 by Japanese maker Ritsue Mishima for £5,600. This hand-blown, spiralling glass piece is characteristic of Mishima’s creations which are often concerned with movement and light. Born in 1962 in Kyoto , Ritsue Mishima executes her highly original designs in collaboration with Murano-based craftsmen.

The Ashmolean Museum selected Calm Contortion Wine Cooler, 2008 by Ndidi Ekubia for £28,500. This large-scale, tactile vessel is made from hammer-raised Britannia silver. Manchester-born Ekubia is recognised as an outstanding young talent, following in the footsteps of renowned silversmith Hiroshi Suzuki.

The Royal Albert Memorial Museum, Exeter selected Golden Fields of Rice, 2009 by Mutsumi Suzuki for £17,000. This intricately crafted, multi-lacquered lidded object with gold motifs is a fine example of the oeuvre of this highly skilled lacquer maker. Born in Kyoto in 1942, Suzuki sadly died last year and this piece meant a great deal to him.

The Shipley Art Gallery, Gateshead selected Conservation, 2010, a duo ceramic piece by London-based maker Nicolas Rena for £10,800. The use of bold blue and vibrant turquoise exemplifies Rena’s style, which is also influenced by his early training as an architect.

The Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester selected Untitled (Long Indigo Hanging), 2009 by Japan-based maker Shihoko Fukumoto for £12,750. Made from hemp and cotton, this large textile piece is striking in its combination of vivid indigo and paler tones. The material itself comes from a traditional kimono, originally used for every day work.

Art Fund Collect took place yesterday, 13 May, the preview day of COLLECT, the Crafts Council’s international art fair for contemporary objects at London ’s Saatchi Gallery.

Ahead of private buyers, short-listed curators had just one hour to go around the fair and pick an object to acquire on behalf of their museum or gallery. Final selections were submitted to an expert panel of judges, who decided which curators should win a share of the £75,000 funding pot to purchase their chosen object outright.

Curators from eleven short-listed museums and galleries took part in Art Fund Collect this year, out of a total of 21 applications from across the UK .

This year saw a second time wins for Aberdeen and the Whitworth, and first time wins for the other three museums.

Stephen Deuchar, Director of the Art Fund, said: “It's a delight to see five winning curators each walking away from Art Fund Collect with an extraordinary new object for their collections. Art Fund Collect is a smart and swift way of boosting public collections with the best of international contemporary craft. It’s also frankly fun - offering curators from across the country a chance to mingle, exchange ideas and soak up the atmosphere of the fair, alongside the excitement of the competition itself.”

Rosy Greenlees, Executive Director of the Crafts Council, said: “Once again, Art Fund Collect enables museums and galleries to acquire ambitious, bold and innovative contemporary craft. Making it possible for people to see contemporary craft in public collections is at the centre of the Crafts Council’s vision and Art Fund Collect is a key way that we make this happen. My congratulations to these five museums on their success this year.”

Now in its third year, Art Fund Collect was set up by the Art Fund and the Crafts Council in 2008 as a way of championing contemporary craft. Since winners are able to acquire their chosen objects on the spot, Art Fund Collect has proven to be an effective way of boosting public collections with international contemporary craft. Over the past three years, Art Fund Collect has made £200,000 available for contemporary craft acquisitions for public collections.

The Art Fund Collect judging panel comprises Art Fund Director Stephen Deuchar , Ex Chairman of the Crafts Council and the Art Fund Sir Nicholas Goodison, Executive Director of the Crafts Council Rosy Greenlees, Art Fund Trustee Jonathan Marsden and renowned ceramic artist Edmund de Waal.

Last year, 23 institutions applied, ten were short-listed and five won a significant object to add to their public collections.

Each of the eleven objects chosen by short-listed curators can be seen at COLLECT, which runs from 14 – 17 May at the Saatchi Gallery, Duke of York’s HQ, King’s Road, London SW3 4SQ.

The Art Fund | The Ashmolean Museum | The Royal Albert Memorial Museum | Saatchi Gallery | "Art Fund Collect" |

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