The Braid is long-listed for the 2009 Art Fund Prize for museums and galleries

27 February 2009

The Braid reaches long list for The Art Fund Prize for museums and galleries


The Braid: Arts Centre and Mid-Antrim Museumin Ballymena has been long-listed for the UK's largest single arts prize, The Art Fund Prize for museums and galleries, worth £100,000.  This is the first time a Northern Irelandmuseum has reached the long list.

This £20 million new museum, arts centre and exhibition space showcases diverse art forms and explores community history from prehistoric times to the present day. Displays show how key events in Irish history continue to shape aspects of contemporary cultural and political identity in Northern Ireland and the venue hosts a variety of exhibitions and programmes, including work by international and local artists, contemporary dance and chamber music.

The long list also includes a museum telling the story of the 250-year-old world-renowned pottery company Wedgwood and a Scarborough museum bringing to life the history of English geology in an inspiring seaside setting. Two Scottish giants, Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum and the National Museum of Scotland, also go head to head, and for the first time England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales are represented on the long list. The list has been selected following deliberations by a high profile judging panel including acclaimed film-maker David Puttnam and artist Grayson Perry.

The ten long-listed museums and galleries are:

  • The Braid: Arts Centre and Mid-Antrim Museum, Ballymena, Co Antrim
  • The Centre of New Enlightenment at Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, Glasgow
  • Outside the Box at the Museum of Reading
  • Scotland: A Changing Nation at National Museums Scotland, Edinburgh
  • National Trust Museum of Childhood, Derbyshire
  • Orleans House Gallery, Twickenham
  • Rotunda - The William Smith Museum of Geology, Scarborough
  • Ruthin Craft Centre: The Centre for the Applied Arts, Denbighshire
  • The Sackler Centre for arts education at the V&A, London
  • Wedgwood Museum, Stoke-on-Trent

These ten museums and galleries compete for the £100,000 prize, which is awarded to the museum or gallery whose project demonstrates the most originality, imagination and excellence.

This is the second year that The Art Fund, the UK's 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. 

David Puttnam, Chair of the Judges comments: "This year's long list will take the judges across the length and breadth of the country and there really is something for everyone, with museums and galleries exploring subjects as diverse as ceramics, crafts, geology and toys. These projects have all made an impact in their local areas during their first year of opening, and we are sure that the high standards they have set will make our judging a difficult task."

David Barrie, Director of The Art Fund, comments: "All the long listed museums and galleries have shown exceptional creativity and ambition. They have made excellent use of new technology, architecture and innovative displays to enable their visitors to get the most out of their collections and exhibitions. The Art Fund is proud to support this, the largest arts prize in the UK."

Following judges' visits, four museums and galleries will be short-listed and announced in April. The winner of the £100,000 prize 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, former 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

Last year's winner was The Lightbox museum and gallery in Woking. Previous winners include Pallant House Gallery in Chichester (2007), Brunel's ss Great Britain in Bristol (2006), Big Pit: National Mining Museum of Wales, Blaenafon (2005), The Scottish Gallery of Modern Art for Landform - part sculpture, part garden, part land-art - by Charles Jencks (2004), and the National Centre for Citizenship and the Law at the Galleries of Justice in Nottingham (2003).

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