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Two of the top art institutions get PS800k

To combat racial inequalities Two top art institutions have been given the sum of $800,000 to combat racial discrimination with regard to visual arts. The award will allow 120 artists to work with nearly 30 galleries and museums across the nation.

The Freelands Foundation has announced “unprecedented” long-term financing, as part of a multimillion-pound commitment to projects led by Wysing Arts Centre and the UAL Decolonising Arts Institute that will concentrate on promoting and supporting black and Asian artists.

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Wysing Arts Centre in Cambridgeshire will be awarded PS500,000 to fund an artist development program lasting 10 years known as the Syllabus. Every year, 10 artists with diverse backgrounds will participate in an ambitious program delivered across a nationwide network of eight art institutions.

The partnership’s groundbreaking concept will offer 10 years of assistance to artists with ethnic minorities as well as people with low incomes, with special access requirements or without any formal education in art.

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The program will offer mentoring in artistic development, as well as peer networking with the help of artistic advisors and a dedicated curator.

The PS300,000.00 will be given to UAL Decolonising Arts Institute towards its three-year 20/20 program. This will enable 20 black artists as well as Asian artists to be in residence at the top art organizations throughout the UK to create new permanent collections. These permanent collections will “reshape Britain’s landscape to allow for collection as well as commissioning and exhibiting”.

The 20 partners include Hepworth Wakefield, Box in Plymouth, MIMA in Middlesbrough, Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum in Glasgow, Kettle’s Yard in Cambridge, the National Disability Arts Collection and Archive, Sheffield Museums Trust as well as Wolverhampton Art Gallery.

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After a thorough analysis of all the proposals, Wysing Art Centre was awarded and UAL Decolonising Art Institute was given the. The panel is headed by Sonita Alleyne, who was the first black female master of any Oxbridge college. Other panel members include the artists John Akomfrah and Hardeep Pandhal; Sade Banks, founder of the charity Sour Lemons; and Melanie Keen, director of the Wellcome Collection.

Alleyne said: “The Diversity Action Group is dedicated to creating conditions that black and brown artists in the UK are able to thrive by removing obstacles and creating routes into the sector to improve the lives of artists as well as audiences.

“These two new grants are a landmark in the context of our continued determination to address racial disparities across the visual arts.”

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Rosie Cooper, director at Wysing Arts Centre, said: “The ambition and vision of Freelands Foundation in deciding to support Syllabus over a period of 10 years is unprecedented and inspiring. It offers stability and substantial expansion for a programme that has already contributed a huge contribution to the industry. We are thankful to the foundation for choosing to promote artists this way particularly at this challenging time.”

Director at UAL Decolonising Art Institute, Dr Susan Pui San Lok said that “We are very grateful to the help of the Freelands Foundation in making UAL Decolonising Art Institute’s ’20/20′ project feasible. After an amazing 18-month span, “20/20” is the result of urgent calls for artworld actions that go beyond gestures and words.

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The announcement of the funding follows of a landmark research commission into how the black, Asian and minority ethnic students are excluded from arts education. The Runnymede Trust will conduct the research, along with the Freelands Foundation.


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