It’s An Art Life By Lauren Steventon

Outset Contemporary Art Fund is a philanthropic organisation that aims to help national visual art institutions increase their contemporary collections.

Its an Art life

It’s a hard world for young artists. Dedicated to their ideas yet struggling to survive, waiting for the break that will provide them with funding, recognition and the liberty to dedicate themselves to their art. On the other hand, public museums and galleries are strapped for cash, unable to spend the money on emerging art and build their contemporary collections.

That’s where Outset Contemporary Art Fund comes in. Set up in 2003 by Yana Peel and Candida Gertler, it is a philanthropic organisation that aims to support new art by bringing private funding to galleries, museums and the artists themselves. Peel and Gertler are both passionate about contemporary art – so it seems fitting that it was a chance meeting at Charles Saatchi’s house that brought them together. An idea grew into an actuality, and Outset was born, attracting like-minded individuals who wanted to support new art and emerging artists. The Fund uses donations from these individuals to acquire contemporary art and give it to national museums and galleries that may otherwise not be able to afford it. For example, for a number of years they have worked with the Tate acquiring works for the museum at Frieze. Donations from outset patrons are given to Tate curators who, alongside international guests curators, procure international contemporary art from the festival for the museum’s collection. Since 2003, over £900,000 in donations have helped to acquire 78 works by artists such as Mark Leckey, Jeremy Deller and Simon Starling, all of whom went on to win the Turner Prize.

Over the years, the Fund has supported almost all of London’s art institutions. But it’s not just the museums that benefit; patrons are invited to the dinners and talks. As well as invitations to events and dinners at the museums and galleries, Outset patrons are given unique opportunities to immerse themselves in the contemporary art world, visiting artists in their studios, attending tours with the artists, guest speaker events and international trips.