ACE backs new Arts archive

Arts Council England has backed a pilot project to preserve the archives of 100 of the UK’s top artists.

ACE is awarding £250,000 to Art360, a partnership involving DACS, the artists’ royalties organization, The National Archives, the Art Fund and The Henry Moore Foundation to digitize the archives of the artists.

Over the course of three years, the pilot programme will work with 30-40 artists each year from the modern British canon (1900 – 2000) and contemporary artists active between 2000 – 2014. Artists will be offered a range of expert advice and technical support in developing sustainable systems to manage their archives for the future.

An Art360 website will record the progress of the project and include unique materials that are unearthed in the process such as selected documentation, drawings and images as well as filmed and recorded interviews and ephemera from the artists’ careers. 

This project will be supported with a series of regional events and workshops.

Experts say that changes in technology have disrupted the traditional model for art collection and preservation.  Legacy planning for artists is not being systemically addressed and cultural assets are being depleted more swiftly than ever before, they add.

Peter Heslip, director of visual arts for Arts Council England, said: “This initiative addresses the "ticking time bomb" of important artists’ materials which are often fragile and poorly stored. The project will not only safeguard the materials but provide a new source of income for artists and their estates and create an important public legacy by making these works more accessible to the public.”

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