Art joins fashion in new campaign for museums

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Fashion designer Katharine Hamnett has joined forces with the Contemporary Art Society (CAS) today to launch a new crowdfunding campaign supporting museums.

She has designed a “Choose Art” T-shirt to encourage people to donate to a crowd-funding campaign to raise purchase funding for works of art for museums across the UK.

“Art and design are and always have been at the cutting edge not just of culture but civilisations” Hamnett said. “Simon Schama says “Man is an art-making animal” and art in the UK is under threat right now. Huge holes in public finances due to Covid and changes in the rules thanks to Brexit are going to mean that art, artists, art education and museums are going to need all the help they can get to survive.”

Her T-shirt will be given to anyone who contributes more than £60 to the campaign which will be live for just a month, from today (March 15) to April 15.

The money raised will be used to buy art by British-based artists giving support to them, technicians and art handlers many of whom are freelancers who have seen their incomes decimated in the last year. It is a second iteration of the CAS’s appeal, following last year’s Rapid Response Fund which raised £230,000 to buy 106 works of art for 16 museums.

“Art reflects the times we live in and now more than ever as we look to recovery, we believe that everyone in the UK should have access to the best art created now to help the nation heal” said CAS director Caroline Douglas. “We want to encourage everyone to Choose Art, donate, visit your local museum when it reopens and share your favourite artworks with friends. We are delighted to be partnering with Katharine Hamnett, capturing her activist spirit to fight for the most important causes of our times.”

Choose Art is in collaboration with Frieze allowing the campaign to reach attendees at art fairs and readers of the magazines.

“Over the last twelve months our sector has gone to extraordinary lengths to connect with the communities we serve” said Laura Sillars, director of the Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art (MIMA). “Through door-step projects, from living room museums to creative poster-making programmes we’ve pivoted, transitioned and hybridised. Our collections have been key providing inspiration, solace and reflection. Remarkably, with CAS’s rapid response collecting programme, this period, for MIMA and other institutions across the UK, has been a time of creative growth.”

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