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Chaired by Michael Portillo, Art Fund Prize Judging Panel Announced for 2011
Professor Jim Al-Khalili OBE, theoretical physicist, author and broadcaster.
LONDON.- The Art Fund announced the judging panel for the 2011 Art Fund Prize.

The Art Fund Prize is the most prestigious prize in the museum world and annually awards £100,000 to a museum or gallery that demonstrates excellence, originality and imagination for a project the previous year.

Last month, the Art Fund announced Michael Portillo as Chair of the Judges. The full panel of experts can now be disclosed:

· Michael Portillo, Chair, broadcaster and former cabinet minister
· Professor Jim Al-Khalili OBE, theoretical physicist, author and broadcaster
· Jeremy Deller, artist
· Kathy Gee, museums and heritage consultant
· Charlotte Higgins, journalist and author
· Lars Tharp, Foundling Museum Curator, broadcaster and Antiques Roadshow expert
· Lola Young, Baroness Young of Hornsey, Independent Cross Bench peer and writer, cultural critic, public speaker and broadcaster

The submission period opened in October 2010, and closes at 5pm on 1 December 2010. The judges will select a long list, to be announced in early February 2011. The judges will then visit all long listed institutions before deciding on a short list, to be announced in early May 2011. The final winner will be announced at the Prize ceremony on 15 June 2011.

Michael Portillo said: "Those entrusted with Britain's rich resource of museum collections are constantly innovating, finding new ways to display their treasures, and seeking to develop their buildings with vivid new designs. This prize seeks to reward their efforts and to draw the public's attention to those advances. I am greatly looking forward to being able to visit some of the outstanding improvements around the nation, and to chairing the process by which we recognise the best of the year."

Lars Tharp said:"I'm honoured to be asked to come back for a second year on the Art Fund Prize Panel (2011). Our wonderful museums and galleries play a powerful part in defining who we are, locally, nationally and globally, whether in distant or recent times. Just how powerful museums can be is seen in my own daughters (now 18 and 24); in earlier years they would groan from the back seat of the car whenever we swerved to follow the arrows on a Brown Sign pointing to some collection or other; "Oh no, dad, not a museum…of…Plastic!" Despite the scars, both daughters have gone on to pursue degrees in History.

“Alas, museums will be even more challenged by the lean times our politicians have promised us. The prestigious Art Fund Prize is a marvellous opportunity for the sector, and a wonderful opportunity to celebrate our museums and galleries.”

Baroness Young said: “After looking at last year’s long list, I'm struck by the rich variety – small and large, rural and metropolitan, general and highly specialised – and I'm very excited by the prospect of interacting with some of the most interesting and engaging work in the museum and galleries sector.”

Lady Cobham, Chairman of the Museum Prize Trustees said: “The Museum Prize Trust is delighted that the 2011 Art Fund Prize for Museums and Gallery will be judged by such an illustrious and varied panel. Their wealth of collective expertise and knowledge brings incredible value to the Prize. Museums and galleries are an integral part of UK cultural life, and the Prize offers an opportunity to celebrate and recognise those who strive for excellence, creativity and public engagement.”

Under the umbrella of The Art Fund Prize, there will be a new Award in 2011 – the Clore Award for Museum Learning. The single award of £10,000 will recognise and celebrate quality, impact and innovation in using museums and galleries for learning activities or initiatives. The judging panel for the Clore Award will be announced shortly. Announcements for the Clore long and short lists and final winner will coincide with the main Prize announcements.

The Art Fund | Michael Portillo | 2011 Art Fund Prize | London |

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