This article was originally published by Arts Professional and is shared here for our members information. 

One major work by a leading British artist will be purchased each year for a UK museum or gallery through a new scheme launched by the Contemporary Art Society (CAS). The ‘Great Works’ initiative aims to address the lack of works by contemporary British artists in regional collections and “balance the London bias”.

CAS said: “Outside Tate, the British Council, Arts Council and Government Art Collections, there are very few or no works by many leading British-based artists such as Sarah Lucas, Mark Wallinger, Rachel Whiteread and Wolfgang Tillmans. It is increasingly clear that as the market rises exponentially, museums across the country are struggling to collect the work of living artists of established international reputation.”

The Sfumato Foundation has agreed to support the acquisition of one work a year, although the amount of money being put forward has not been disclosed. CAS told AP: “Details of the budget are commercially sensitive, but will depend on the works being bought.”

The 70 CAS member museums – 62 of which are based outside of London – are invited to apply for the award. CAS said: “The successful applicant will make the case for the acquisition of work by an artist with a substantial connection to the museum’s existing collections, city or region.” The Society will then work with the organisation to identify an appropriate piece to acquire.

The scheme is about ‘placemaking’, CAS said: “Up and down the country museum collections help to define cities… Great works make for destination museums, and contemporary art in particular connects people to the culture of their own time.”

The deadline for applications is the end of February 2016 and the acquired work will go on public display at the winning museum in 2016/17.

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