Applications open for Art Fund’s Weston Loan Programme - Museums Association

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Applications open for Art Fund’s Weston Loan Programme

Adjacent scheme to engage underrepresented audiences
Art Fund Funding Loans
Sought after works such as Self-Portrait with Bandaged Ear, 1889, by Vincent van Gogh, owned by The Courtauld could be borrowed through the Western Loan Programme
Sought after works such as Self-Portrait with Bandaged Ear, 1889, by Vincent van Gogh, owned by The Courtauld could be borrowed through the Western Loan Programme © Jim Winslet

The Weston Loan Programme with Art Fund will continue for another three years thanks to a £1m grant from the Garfield Weston Foundation. The scheme enables smaller museums to borrow significant works from major collections. The deadline for applications is 15 December.

The programme is now in its third phase of support for the sector and has empowered smaller museums to borrow works of outstanding quality and significance from national and major lending institutions. It increases access to notable objects, shares resources across the country and brings lasting benefits to borrowers, lenders and audiences. Since its launch in 2017, Art Fund has delivered seven rounds of funding, awarding £1.28m to 78 museums.

Sophia Weston, the deputy chair of the Garfield Weston Foundation, said: "We are hugely proud of the Weston Loan Programme’s track record of supporting museum professionals up and down the country to tell compelling stories through ambitious loans that have relevance to their local history and heritage.

"Having begun as the UK’s first ever scheme dedicated to enabling regional museums to borrow from national collections, it’s exciting to now be working towards the programme’s tenth anniversary and I look forward to seeing the meaningful exhibitions and partnerships that this next phase will help to bring about."

This round of funding is adjacent to the first phase of funding from Going Places, which launched on 29 August, a new UK-wide programme aiming to engage and involve underrepresented audiences with museum collections through touring collections. The deadline for applications for Going Places is 24 November with the last in a series of collaboration meet-ups happening online on 3 November.

Going Places will establish five networks of up to five small to mid-sized museums, with each network developing their own touring exhibitions. The scheme is made possible with support from the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

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Eilish McGuinness, chief executive of the National Lottery Heritage Fund, said: “We welcome the ambitions of the Going Places programme which will help to strengthen small to medium-sized museums across the UK, and which is supported by a development grant of £252,839 from the Heritage Fund. These museums are integral to their place allowing underrepresented communities a chance to engage with these collections.

"Through this project, these museums will be able to support one another in developing their skills and resources to plan towards their future, particularly bolstering their programming through touring exhibitions. We are looking forward to working with Art Fund to support the initial phase of the Going Places programme and seeing how the benefits of this project can be extended further in support of our vision for heritage to be valued, cared for and sustained for everyone’s future.”

Jenny Waldman, the director of the Art Fund, said: “Through our growing range of support for collaborative initiatives, Art Fund recognises the value of touring and sharing collections as one of the most inclusive and sustainable ways of bringing art to new audiences.

“I’m thrilled that the Garfield Weston Foundation will be generously supporting a further three years of the Weston Loan Programme enabling local audiences to enjoy major works from national collections. And it’s with thanks to the National Lottery Heritage that we’re able to develop an exciting new UK-wide programme of exhibitions, Going Places, that will engage underrepresented audiences with museum collections.”

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