“Putting good art in front of as many people as possible” was the message from David Barrie, Director of the Art Fund, when he spoke to members of the Hertfordshire branch of the Art Fund, the UK’s leading independent art charity, at the Verulamium Museum, St. Albans, on Wednesday 4th February, 2009.
Braving difficult weather conditions, the audience of Art Fund members heard David Barrie outline the work and history of the organisation with illustrations of works ranging from a Bronze Age Dirk to an Andy Warhol. Art Fund’s income come from 80,000 members’ subscriptions, legacies and gifts and from fund-raising events organised by local volunteers such as the Hertfordshire branch.
High profile campaigns to ‘save’ art such as Titian’s “Diana and Actaeon” gained massive media coverage, but David Barrie stressed that museums around the country also benefit from help provided by the Art Fund to acquire not just paintings and sculptures, but a wide range of artefacts, historical or modern from all over the world.
Art Fund members in Hertfordshire number over two and a half thousand who join in regular locally organised events as well as those available via the Art fund nationally. They also enjoy free or reduced admission to hundreds of museums and galleries in the UK and a glossy magazine, “Art Quarterly”.
Hertfordshire museums and galleries have received Art Fund grants totalling over £94,000 towards the cost of works of art valued at almost £300,000 including a Roman hoard of 150 silver, bronze, iron, ceramic and glass artefacts for the Veralumium Museum.
Chris Green, Director of the Verulamium Museum, joined the audience for David Barrie’s talk as did Angus Johnson, the Art Fund’s Regional Representative in Hertfordshire.
Other museums helped by the Art Fund include the Museum of St. Albans, the Watford Museum, the Hetrfordshire County Museum and the Letchworth Art Gallery and Museum.