a-n - The Artists Information Company
The spiel: Stimulating and supporting contemporary visual arts practice
What they fund: This website fights the corner for visual artists across the UK. Looking towards your rights, the organisation also provides up to date listings, and is a great source of information relating to current opportunities.
The Art Fund
The spiel: “Helping museums & galleries buy art for everyone to enjoy”
What they fund: A resource for curators with an aim to keep art in the UK. Also offers incentives to inject new life into galleries and museums and showcases inspirational venues.
Artists & Illustrators - Artists of the Year
The spiel: “in search for the world's best undiscovered artists"
We are looking for pieces that are unique, creative and demonstrate a good level of technique in one or more of the following mediums: all water-based mediums (including watercolours), oils, acrylics, gouache, all drawing mediums (including pastels and charcoal), collage and all forms of printmaking.
Bloomberg New Contemporaries
The spiel: “the leading UK organisation supporting emergent art practice from British Art Schools.”
What they fund: Bloomberg New Contemporaries is a showcase for the work of current students and recent graduates, giving new work exposure through media coverage, exhibitions and events. Artists are welcomed to submit their application online.
BP Portrait Award
The spiel: “the leading showcase for new talent, celebrating and promoting the very best in contemporary portrait painting.”
What they fund: The call for entries happens in November but you can register your interest at any point in the year. Prizes range from £5,000 to £30,000 and a commission to be agreed with the National Gallery.
The BP Travel Award is an annual award to allow artists to experience working in a different environment on a project related to portraiture.
BP Portrait Award: Next Generation is a dynamic project inspiring 14–19-year-olds about portraiture through the BP Portrait Award.
British School at Rome Awards
The spiel: “The British School at Rome offers outstanding scholars and artists the opportunity to work in Rome for 3 to 12 months.”
What they fund: In order to strengthen relationships between Britain and Italy, and between our past and present, British School at Rome offer various schemes to artists from the UK. The charitable organisation aims to provide an environment where artists can nourish their creativity, free from the pressures of everyday life. Hence, throughout the placements, accommodation and meals are provided.
The Campaign for Drawing. The John Ruskin Prize
The spiel: “rais[ing] the profile of drawing as a tool for thought, creativity, social and cultural engagement.”
What they fund: Open to UK residents working in painting, drawing, print-making or mixed media, The John Ruskin Prize invites artists over 18 to respond to a brief with a piece that can be wall-mounted. The prize is £1000, a specially commissioned pencil case and a place in an exhibition at Brantwood and Sheffield’s Millennium Gallery.
Cass Sculpture Foundation
The spiel: “an independent commissioning body dedicated to commissioning new work from emerging and established artists”
What they fund: The foundation’s 26-acre grounds are home to an assortment of sculptures, which are all available to buy with profits going directly to the artists. Check the website for collaboration opportunities.
The Catlin Guide and Art Prize
The spiel: “Art Catlin supports the ambitions of new graduates and emerging artists in the UK.”
What they fund: It’s a tough world out there. In recognition of this, insurers Catlin offer 40 recent graduates from UK art schools the chance to have their work exposed in the Catlin Guide. A small selection is then invited to contribute to the Catlin Art Prize exhibition before the overall prizewinner is awarded £5,000.
The spiel: “An international contemporary art prize and a network for arts professionals”
What they fund: Celeste’s focus is on bringing people together. Sign up to the network to showcase your work and explore collaborations with other artists before applying to the annual arts prize, which is designed to unite people internationally through the medium of contemporary art.
Craft Pottery Charitable Trust
The spiel: "Excellence in British Studio Ceramics"
The Craft Potters Association of Great Britain was established to support artists working in the ceramics industry and to raise the profile of this craft. Prizes up to £1,000 are awarded to ceramists working in the British Studio tradition. There is also a £500 bursary scheme and Setting Out exhibition for graduates nominated by their colleges.
The spiel: “The Crafts Council's goal is to make the UK the best place to make, see, collect and learn about contemporary craft.”
What they fund: The Crafts Council is a strong general resource for finding about the latest news and opportunities in the world of crafts.
Daiwa Anglo-Japanese Foundation Grants
The spiel: “Supporting closer links between the UK and Japan”
What they fund: The Daiwa Foundation Art Prize flies one British artist to Tokyo in order to create a solo exhibition. The winner is awarded a £5,000 participation fee plus expenses and will be introduced to the Japanese arts world by members of the foundation. As well as this opportunity, the Foundation also offers small grants of £3,000-£7,000 to individuals or organisations who are keen to develop interactions between the UK and Japan. Innovation is encouraged.
The Edward Marshall Trust
The spiel: “Sponsors design projects, accessible by the public and inspired by an ideology relevant for today.”
What they fund: Set up in commemoration of post-graduate student, Edward Marshall, this privately-funded trust recognises statement pieces made by designers who take pride in their artform.
The Elephant Trust
Deadline(s): January and September
The spiel: ‘To bear in mind at all times an original, inquisitive, open-minded, generous and unshockable approach to art in all its forms with a bias towards the visual arts.’
What they fund: While their namesake may be large, The Elephant Trust has a ‘modest budget’, which it uses to dish out grants of up to £2,000 to artistic individuals including emerging figures in the arts world.
Deadline(s): June (biennially – the ‘even’ years)
The spiel: “The Gilchrist-Fisher Award is a biennial prize open to artists under the age of 30 … whose work deals with the broad theme of landscape.”
What they fund: Established in memory of the art student, Alasdair Gilchrist-Fisher, this ‘prestigious and valuable’ award showcases an artist under 30 who works with landscapes. There is a First Prize of £3000 and a Second Prize of £1000. In addition the work of the six short-listed finalists is exhibited at Rebecca Hossack Gallery in Central London.
The Goldsmiths' Company
The spiel: “Founded to regulate the craft or trade of the goldsmith, the Goldsmiths' Company…continues to play an important role in support of the craft and industry”
What they fund: The Goldsmiths’ Company offers small grants to UK charities with a low turnover. Their funding covers general welfare, medical welfare, youth, culture and church. Arts projects supported by the Company include Underground Heroes – which brought visual art by young people into Tube stations – and Cardboard Citizens, which used theatre and workshops to explore the experience of homelessness.
The Henry Moore Foundation
Deadline(s): March, June, September and December
The spiel: “Our aim is to promote sculpture, in exhibitions, collections and for research.”
What they fund: In acknowledgement of what it sees as an obvious shortage of funding for sculpture, the Henry Moore Foundation offers commissions, exhibitions and awards to sculptors who use diverse styles and spaces.
John Moores Painting Prize
The spiel: “The Oscar of the British painting world"
What they fund: Prizes between £2,500 and £25,000. Launched by John Moores, the founder of Liverpool-based Littlewoods, the award was designed to be an antidote to a London-dominated arts scene and recognises artist who work with paint. The competition culminates in an exhibition held at the Walker Art Gallery every two years, which forms a key strand of the Liverpool Biennial.
Lynn Painter-Stainers Prize
The spiel: “The purpose of the Prize is to encourage creative representational painting and promote the skill of draughtsmanship.”
What they fund: The Lynn Painter-Stainers Prize recognises and celebrates high quality art with an exhibition on The Mall. The first prize is £15,000 and a gold medal, and five runners up receive £1,500. Artists under 25 are considered for the Young Artist Award, which has a prize of £2,500.
Mark Tanner Sculpture Award
Deadline(s): check the website
The spiel: “support[ing] the creative work of an exceptional emerging sculptor over one year.”
What they fund: The Mark Tanner Sculpture Award is the most significant award for emerging artists working in the field of sculpture in the UK: offering £8,000 in financial support towards the making of new work, plus a solo show at Standpoint Gallery.
The MTSA seeks to reward outstanding and innovative practice, with a particular interest in work that demonstrates a commitment to process, or sensitivity to material.
Northern Art Prize
Deadline(s): check the website
The spiel: “celebrating contemporary visual artists based in the North of England.”
What they fund: After inviting nominations from key figures in rural and urban areas, the prize provides a significant financial reward to the winning artist who receives £16,500. Other shortlisted artists receive £1,500.
Oppenheim - John Downes Memorial Awards
The spiel: “The Oppenheim-John Downes Memorial Trust offers financial assistance to British artists, sculptors, writers, musicians and dancers.”
What they fund: The Oppenheim-John Downes Memorial Trust offers financial assistance to deserving artists of any kind who risk being excluded from their field due to financial difficulty. Awards are usually £1,000 but the Trustees sometimes consider larger awards if appropriate.
Paul Hamlyn Foundation - Funding Directory
The spiel: “Funding directory for visual artists and composers.”
It provides a portal for information on funding opportunities for individual artists and composers. Paul Hamlyn Foundation is an independent grant-making organisation that works to help people fulfil their potential and enjoy a better quality of life. It operates three UK programmes – in the Arts, Education and Learning and Social Justice.
The spiel: “The Foundation's mission is to aid, internationally, those individuals who have worked as professional artists over a significant period of time.”
Founded by Lee Krasner, the widow of Jackson Pollock, this foundation works to assist artists in financial difficulty. Following funding, the Foundation offer their website as a platform for new work. Read the grant guidelines.
The Queen Elizabeth Scholarship Trust
The spiel: “Supporting Excellence in British Craftsmanship”
What they fund: With a focus on deeply considered artworks, The Queen Elizabeth Scholarship Trust offers up to £15,000 to artists from all age groups. There is no minimum age, but in order to make a successful application you do need to be able to prove a high level of skill and a true commitment to your craft.
RBS Bursaries (Royal Society of British Sculptors awards)
The spiel: "Advancing the art and practice of sculpture"
What they fund: The Royal Society of British Sculptors recognises and champions the diversity within this branch of the arts. The charity offers 10 bursaries each year, designed to launch the careers of sculptors who exhibit great potential. The FIRST@108 Award gives one artist £10,000 to produce and install a sculpture, with a view to encourage sculptors to devise works for public exhibition. Residencies in Stone Carving and Bronze Casting are also offered to two RBS members every year.
Red Mansion Art Prize
The spiel: “We aim to create a dialogue between East and West. Our vision is to encourage mutual cultural understanding through contemporary art.”
What they fund: The Red Mansion Foundation funds month-long residencies, enabling nominated graduate students from The Royal Academy Schools, The Royal College of Art, Chelsea College of Art, Central St. Martins, Slade School and Goldsmiths College to work in China.
Roswitha Haftmann Prize
Deadline(s): Varies. Contact the organisation for further details.
The spiel: “The aim of the Foundation is to recognise outstanding achievements in the visual arts.”
What they fund: At CHF 150,000 (just over £100,000), the Roswitha Haftmann Prize is the largest arts prize in Europe. The fund is awarded every one to three years.
The Sovereign Art Foundation
The spiel: “The Sovereign Art Prizes are visual arts prizes established to give recognition to some of the most important artists of our time.”
What they fund: The Sovereign Art Foundation is a charity registered in Hong Kong and the UK that raises money to help disadvantaged children using the arts as rehabilitation, education and therapy. It was established in 2003 and runs the annual Sovereign Art Prizes in Asia, Africa and Europe. Artists enter the competition by submitting photographs of their work. Winning entries will be exhibited, with 50% from any sale going back to the artist. The other 50% will support the Foundation’s charitable aims.
St Hugh's Arts Awards
The spiel: “encourage[ing] research and development in the arts”
What they fund: The St Hugh’s Arts Award recognises artists or organisations based in Lincolnshire or the Humber areas who are eager to develop work alongside the trust. The projects should be innovative and practical, and they should acknowledge regional areas in need of change.
Theo Moorman Trust for Weavers
Deadline(s): March (biennially – the ‘even’ years)
The spiel: “We aim to encourage and support weavers in the United Kingdom to enjoy artistic freedom so that they may contribute to the development of handweaving and the education of future weavers.”
What they fund: The Theo Moorman Trust encourages young weavers, offering grants between £500 to £5,000 to those in the early stages of a career, providing that have at least two years of experience in the workplace since graduating.
UNESCO-Aschberg Bursaries for Young Artists
Deadline(s): Check the website
The spiel: “promot[ing] the mobility of young artists in order to enrich their personal perspectives, to develop their creative project, enabling them to engage in a cultural diversity dialogue.”
What they fund: Under the title of the Programme, the UNESCO-Aschberg Bursaries for Artists fund residencies to artists aged 25-35. The funders of the Programme have an emphatically international focus, firmly believing in the power of collaboration.
The spiel: “In a celebration of both modern skill and tradition, this award recognises emerging artistis who pay homage to the skill and traditions of the past.”
What they fund: In its quest to find a dynamic young artist who takes influence from the past, this arts prize brings a modern spin to the Old Master concept. The winner will receive £1,500 and there are two highly commended prizes of £500. The winning artists will also be invited to exhibit in a showcase of their work abroad, as part of the Young Masters International Tour.