The short list was announced for The Art Fund Prize
for museums and galleries 2009, the UKs largest arts prize, worth £100,000. The four museums and galleries were selected following deliberations by a high profile judging panel including acclaimed film-maker David Puttnam and artist Grayson Perry. They are:
Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, Glasgow is short-listed for the second time in three years, this time for The Centre of New Enlightenment (TCONE), its new programme of educational events and experiences for young people. Research showing that Scottish school children have some of the lowest confidence levels in Europe inspired the Centres new hand-held technology guides which help young people enjoy and explore the museums collections. The judges said that the programme was original and infectious, and commended the way it gave young people the independence to explore Kelvingrove in an active way.
The renovation and restoration of Orleans House Gallery, Twickenham has transformed decaying buildings into a thriving and inspirational community hub for heritage, arts and learning, with regularly-changing contemporary and historical exhibitions alongside its permanent collection. The project has vastly-extended the audience for the Gallery, its exhibitions and activities which range from artists residencies, to work with vulnerable young people and work placements for Creative and Media Diploma students. The judges felt that this was an example of impressive achievement on a modest budget and commended the imagination and genuine passion of the Gallerys team.
Ruthin Craft Centre: The Centre for the Applied Arts, Denbighshire is the most important gallery for contemporary craft in Wales. Its stunning new building has dramatically increased the space available for its rolling programme of contemporary crafts exhibitions drawing on major collections at home and abroad, and has provided new education space and craft studios. The judges were impressed by the excellence of the Centres exhibitions and publications programme and by the energy and enthusiasm of its small team.
Housed on the historic manufacturing site of Josiah Wedgwood and Sons Limited, the final museum on the short list is Wedgwood Museum, Stoke-on-Trent which tells the story of one of the worlds most iconic and recognisable consumer brands from the Industrial Revolution through to the modern wares we see on the high street today. Visitors see not just ceramics but a range of manuscripts, documentation, factory equipment, original models and fine art related to the 250-year-old world-renowned pottery company. For the judges Wedgwood Museum represented a collection and archive of national importance, beautifully and intelligently housed and displayed, yet with its roots firmly in its local place and community.
The short list represents the breadth of the UKs museums and galleries sector, covering England, Scotland and Wales and featuring an independent trust museum and three, very different, local authority run institutions.
The winner will be announced on Thursday 18 June at the Royal Institute of British Architects in London.
The 2009 judging panel comprises:
David Puttnam (chair) film-maker and educationalist
Robert Crawford, outgoing Director General of the Imperial War Museum
Sally Osman, communications consultant and former Director of Communications at the BBC
Grayson Perry, Turner Prize-winning artist
Mathematician and author Marcus du Sautoy
Maggie Semple, Chief Executive of The Experience Corps
Journalist and broadcaster Mary Ann Sieghart
This is the second year that The Art Fund, the UKs leading independent art charity has sponsored this major arts prize, which is open to all accredited museums and galleries in the UK. The Art Fund Prize for museums and galleries recognises and stimulates originality and excellence in museums and galleries and aims to increase public appreciation and enjoyment of all they have to offer.
Last years winner was The Lightbox museum and gallery in Woking. Previous winners of the then Gulbenkian Prize include Pallant House Gallery, Chichester (2007), Brunels ss Great Britain, Bristol (2006), Big Pit: National Mining Museum of Wales, Blaenafon (2005), The Scottish Gallery of Modern Art for Landform by Charles Jencks (2004), and the National Centre for Citizenship and the Law at the Galleries of Justice, Nottingham (2003).