Art Fund launches online funding initiative

Five museums have joined Art Happens crowdfunding platform
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Simon Stephens
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The Art Fund has unveiled an online crowdfunding platform to help museums raise money.

Art Happens is housed on the Art Fund website and is designed to raise money for small-scale projects.

“Art Happens will enable museums who have small projects that need funding to put together a package to advertise what it is and to use our crowdfunding platform as way of going out to the public to get support,” said Stephen Deuchar, the director of the Art Fund.

Deuchar said that all money raised for a museum via Art Happens will go to that organisation, making it different from other crowdfunding platforms, which charge commission on money raised.



The Art Fund chooses which museums take part in Art Happens. The first five taking part are Compton Verney in Warwickshire; Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust, Shropshire; Jerwood Gallery, Hastings; St Fagans National History Museum, Cardiff; and the Bowes Museum, County Durham. More museums will join the platform later, with 10 to 15 funding campaigns expected to be on the site at any one time.

The first five projects are looking to raise £10,000-£25,000. People can give £5-£1,000 and each donor will be thanked with a limited edition reward from the museum they give money to.

“We hope that a scheme like this which is not just about taking people’s money but involving them in the projects themselves is going to be start of a new era for museum fundraising in this country,” Deuchar said.

The Jerwood’s project is to bring an exhibition of work by the Chapman Brothers, who grew up in Hastings, to the gallery.

“For us, this opportunity is absolutely brilliant because we have reached the point as a regional gallery in Hastings where we want to really develop relationships with our visitors in a different way,” said Liz Gilmore, the director of the Jerwood Gallery. “This is much more than them just coming through the door of gallery, it’s about developing a project that they can feel part of and give to.

“This is about individual engagement and I think will create a much richer experience for the people who contribute and then come to see the show,” Gilmore added. “It is a new model of working for us.”

There are other online funding platforms used by museums and galleries, including Donate, which is run by the National Funding Scheme charity, and Kickstarter. Both charge commission.

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Art Happens



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