Acquisition Schemes

The Acquisition Scheme
Since 1910, the Contemporary Art Society has gifted over 8,000 works to public collections across the UK and the Commonwealth. The schemes we have offered, to acquire and gift works to museums, have changed over the years depending on funds available and the priorities of the time.

The Fine Art and Craft Acquisitions Schemes were initiated in 2008 and have been developed to enable us to work closely with collections curators and other museum and gallery staff as we acquire new works with them for their collections. In 2014 the New Story of Craft Scheme was re-launched as the Omega Fund, named in honour of one of the founders of the Contemporary Art Society, Roger Fry. The principal aim of our Omega Fund is to purchase the work of artists who show much promise, are exhibiting widely but may still be at an early stage in their career. There are currently twenty-five participating members in the scheme and at this time membership stands at £350  for which we are able to commit in return a total of £2,750 towards a purchase. 

Over a four-year cycle we will work with the curators of each of our sixty-four Member Museums to research and purchase works that fit or extend existing collections. Works are acquired with funds from the Contemporary Art Society and gifted to the Member Museum. Each Member Museum is guaranteed a work every four years on the condition that the Museum Member commits to the necessary time and resources to research and identify work for purchase.

The programme for the Scheme includes:

– Artist research and studio visits
– Research trips
– Assistance with funding applications where additional funds are required beyond the Contemporary Art Society’s contribution.
– The support of interpretation relating to the newly acquired works where this is possible.

Participation in the Scheme also means that the Museum Member is eligible to apply for:

– Strategic Initiatives including the £40,000 Annual Award, the Sculpture Fund and Collections Fund, all of which are funded by our patrons.
– Gifts and Bequests: eligibility for gifts and bequests managed through the Contemporary Art Society.
– Curatorial Development through fellowships, Residencies and Placements

Our tendency is to purchase the work of artists at an earlier stage in the development of their practice. This is a consistent emphasis within our overall programme, for example the Annual Award, commission to collect; the aim of the £40,000 Annual Award is to support a museum to commission and collect the work of an artist who is at a stage in their career where they are showing regularly nationally and internationally but do not yet have major works acquired into public collections.

To download Contemporary Art Society’s Acquisitions & Art Consultancy, April 2014-March 2015 (pdf) click here

To download Contemporary Art Society’s Acquisitions & Art Consultancy, November 2012-March 2014 (pdf) click here

For further information about Museum Membership and joining The Acquisition Scheme please contact Christine Takengny, Curator, Museum Acquisitions by email or +44 (0)20 7017 8404.


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