Aberdeen Art Gallery in the running for second year to win national contemporary craft prize

15 March 2010

Independent art charity The Art Fund, and the Crafts Council, today announced that a curator from Aberdeen Art Gallery has been short-listed to take part in Art Fund Collect, a nationwide initiative championing contemporary craft and increasing its presence in UK collections.

Now in its third year, Art Fund Collect offers a fund of £75,000 for curators from UK institutions to select and acquire outright a unique work from COLLECT, the Craft Council's international art fair for contemporary objects, which takes place at London's Saatchi Gallery in May.

Kate Gillespie, Curator, Aberdeen Art Gallery & Museums, has been short-listed to take part in the initiative again this year, having been one of the winners last year. Curators from eleven UK museums and galleries have been short-listed in total this year, out of 21 applications.

Art Fund Collect will take place on 13 May at COLLECT. On the day, Kate Gillespie will be granted special advance access to the fair, ahead of private buyers and VIP guests.
Alongside the ten other short-listed curators, she will have one hour to race around the fair and cherry-pick an item to acquire for Aberdeen's public collections.

The expert panel of judges will examine the curators' choices and decide who will win a share of the £75,000 prize from The Art Fund. Winning curators will be able to buy their chosen piece outright on behalf of their museum or gallery.

Last year, Kate Gillespie walked away from Art Fund Collect with a beautiful 18 carat gold, enamel and garnet necklace by Umbria-based British jeweller Jacqueline Ryan. The piece is now part of Aberdeen's permanent collections.

Kate Gillespie said: "I am absolutely delighted to be short-listed to participate in Art Fund Collect representing Aberdeen Art Gallery & Museums. COLLECT offers a platform for the very best contemporary craft and the opportunity to view the diverse selection of national and international work is unparalleled. The prospect of acquiring a new object for the collection is very exciting and I am looking forward to meeting fellow curators working with contemporary craft collections."

Stephen Deuchar, Director of The Art Fund, said: "Ambition, originality and curatorial flair; these are qualities we were looking for in applications, and we are pleased to have found them in Aberdeen Art Gallery's application to Art Fund Collect. We are delighted that Kate Gillespie has been short-listed again, and we look forward keenly to seeing which work she selects on the day. We wish all short-listed curators the very best of luck."

Rosy Greenlees, Executive Director of the Crafts Council, said: "I am delighted to be part of the committee for Art Fund Collect, and to have selected eleven museums and galleries for such a strong shortlist. It is great to see such a range of organisations represented from across the country, and this year we were particularly impressed with the curatorial ambition and vision that came through so boldly in the applications. I am sure that there will be some extremely exciting works purchased for public museums and galleries at Collect this year."

The expert judging panel consists of Art Fund Director Stephen Deuchar, Ex Chairman of the Crafts Council and The Art Fund Sir Nicholas Goodison, Executive Director of the Crafts Council Rosy Greenlees, Art Fund Trustee Jonathan Marsden and renowned ceramic artist Edmund de Waal.

Winners will be announced on the evening of 13 May at the private view of COLLECT. Decisions will be made based upon the ambition and expertise demonstrated by curators on the day through the work they select.

The other short-listed museums and galleries are: Royal Albert Memorial Museum, Exeter; The Shipley Art Gallery, Gateshead; Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool; Manchester Art Gallery; Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester; mima, Middlesbrough; Ashmolean Museum, Oxford; Plymouth City Museum and Art Gallery; Harris Museum, Preston and York Art Gallery.

Now in its seventh year, Collect takes place from 14 - 17 May 2010 at the Saatchi Gallery, Duke of York's HQ, King's Road, London, SW3 4SQ.