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Ten Curators in the Running for a Share in 75,000 Pound Prize for Contemporary Craft at Collect 2009
Lena Bergström, ‘Deep Purple’, 2008. Handblown, cut and acid treated glass, 26cm x 20cm x20cm. Copyright: The Artist. Photo credit: Jonas Lindstrom. Courtesy: Vessel Gallery.

LONDON.- Independent charity The Art Fund and the Crafts Council today announced the ten museums and galleries shortlisted to take part in Art Fund Collect, a £75,000 competition for contemporary art objects at the Craft Council's international fair Collect.

Art Fund Collect will take place on 14 May, the preview day of Collect, Europe's leading contemporary crafts fair. Now in its sixth year, Collect will be presented over three floors of the Saatchi Gallery's new space in London for the first time.

In a competitive challenge, shortlisted curators of public collections will have just one hour to choose an object for their museum or gallery's permanent collection, ahead of private collectors. A panel of judges will examine their choices and decide who will win a share of the £75,000 prize from The Art Fund.

The ten shortlisted museums and galleries for Art Fund Collect are:

1. Aberdeen Art Gallery
2. Amgueddfa Cymru - National Museum Wales, Cardiff
3. Bilston Craft Gallery, Wolverhampton
4. Cheltenham Art Gallery & Museum
5. Harris Museum, Preston
6. Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art (mima)
7. Nottingham Castle Museum & Art Gallery
8. Shipley Art Gallery, Gateshead (Tyne & Wear Museums)
9. Victoria & Albert Museum, London
10. York Art Gallery

Art Fund Collect was set up in 2008 by The Art Fund, the UK's leading independent art charity and the Crafts Council, the national development agency for contemporary craft, to encourage museums and galleries around the country to acquire the best in international contemporary craft.

Following the success of last year's Art Fund Collect - which saw four UK museums each acquire an outstanding piece, including a monumental grey pot by Julian Stair and an exquisite piece of silverwork by Junko Mori - The Art Fund has increased its gift from £50,000 to £75,000.

David Barrie, Director of The Art Fund, said: "Art Fund Collect is a wonderful opportunity for curators of public collections to acquire the most interesting work from around the world and the competitive element makes the day all the more exciting. In these dark economic times Art Fund Collect will give the public the chance to see some of the very best in international contemporary craft."

Rosy Greenlees, Executive Director, Crafts Council, said: "The Crafts Council is committed to creating opportunities for public collections to acquire craft. We are delighted that The Art Fund is supporting craft collections through this initiative."

A total of 23 institutions applied to compete in this year's Art Fund Collect.

Final winner announcements will be made on the evening of 14 May and selected works will be purchased outright by The Art Fund.

Five of this year's shortlist also took part last year - Amgueddfa Cymru - National Museum Wales, the Harris Museum, Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art (mima), the Shipley Art Gallery and York Art Gallery were all shortlisted in 2008, with mima going on to win their object of choice.

Collect 2009 takes place from 15 - 17 May 2009 at the Saatchi Gallery, Duke of York's HQ, King's Road, London, SW3 4SQ.

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