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Nationwide search begins for UK's Art Fund Prize for Museum of the Year 2015
Helen Escobedo, Summer Fields, 2008 Photo: Jonty Wilde. Courtesy of YSP.

LONDON.- The search began for the winner of the Art Fund Prize for Museum of the Year 2015. Announcing the plans for the 2015 Prize, Stephen Deuchar, director of the Art Fund and chair of the judging panel, revealed the line-up of the Panel: Michael Landy, artist; Alice Rawsthorn, design critic and author; Fiammetta Rocco, books and arts editor of The Economist, and Axel Rger, director of the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam.

The 2015 Prize ceremony will take place in the Turbine Hall at Tate Modern on Wednesday 1 July 2015, before an invited audience of leading figures from the fields of culture and museums.

The renowned British documentary photographer and photo-journalist, Martin Parr, has been selected as the official photographer of the Art Fund Prize for Museum of the Year 2015 and will create a special portfolio of images of the shortlisted museums. He will also be a judge of the Art Fund Prize for Museum of the Year national photography competition, inviting members of the public to make and submit their own photographs of the shortlisted museums. The winning entry will be published in Art Quarterly and featured on the Art Fund website.

The 100,000 Art Fund Prize for Museum of the Year is the largest arts award in Britain and the biggest museum prize in the world. It is awarded to the museum or gallery in the UK that is judged to have best demonstrated excellence, innovation and imagination. Submissions are now open for the 2015 Prize. The shortlisted museums will be revealed on Thursday 23 April 2015.

Stephen Deuchar, Director of the Art Fund said: “The UK is home to the world’s finest museums. Our arts, culture and heritage are internationally admired and we are home to some of the world’s brightest and most creative minds. The Art Fund Prize for Museum of the Year is a showcase for the groundbreaking work that we see across the country each year. This is an important opportunity to celebrate the best that British museums and galleries have to offer.”

Yorkshire Sculpture Park won the 2014 Prize. Peter Murray, director of YSP, commenting on the impact of receiving the Prize, said: “We were honoured to be named Art Fund Museum of the Year 2014. It is a great testament to the commitment and determination of everyone at Yorkshire Sculpture Park who has worked hard over many years to establish our international reputation.

“Already we have seen the impact of the Prize with increased visitor numbers: to date we are up 40% on 2013/14 and hope to break our previous record. We’ve had fantastic media coverage, new opportunities and the validation of our peers. The Art Fund is a pleasure to work with: the team truly understand what YSP is about and their support is invaluable. These are challenging times but the Prize is a wonderful recognition of our work and has given us the motivation and enthusiasm to continue to move forward.”

The Art Fund Prize for Museum of the Year will continue to partner with VocalEyes, a charity that provides access to arts and heritage for blind and partially sighted people. As well as creating introductory audio descriptions, VocalEyes will offer visual awareness training opportunities for staff and volunteers at the shortlisted museums to ensure that they are equipped to greet and guide blind and partially sighted visitors – while also setting a model of good practice to the sector.

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