The Art Fund: a UK charity which can save you more than you give

Those who visit art galleries and exhibitions in the UK may like to save money as well as giving to support the purchase of further art works.

Normally, when you give to charity, you cannot expect anything in return, other than the personal satisfaction that your money will benefit the charity’s works and good causes.

The UK charity The Art Fund is different: by subscribing to the fund, your money goes into its pot, which then helps purchase works of art for UK galleries and museums. But you also get the National Art Pass, which gains you free or discounted admission to many galleries, museums, and exhibitions. In the course of a few days, it is not hard to save more money on admission fees than you have given to the Art Fund. Over a whole year, it is hard to lose.

The Art Fund provides financial support to a very wide range of art purchases by galleries, museums, etc., throughout the UK. In most cases, its funding is decisive in supporting such purchases. Without the Art Fund, UK galleries, etc., would have far fewer works of art for us to see.

It is also keen to publicise its work by informing subscribers about the works which it has helped to purchase: its Art Quarterly magazine is an excellent and informative art journal in its own right.

If I have not yet convinced you to subscribe, let me reassure you that its assistance is spread wide across all types and periods of art. Recent assisted purchases have included El Greco’s painting Christ on the Cross (1600-10) for County Durham, Bartolini’s marble The Campbell Sisters Dancing a Waltz (1820-1) jointly for the Scottish National Gallery and the V&A, Kurt Jackson’s painting Jay Screech, Oak and Hawthorn near Hollands Wood (2012) for Southampton, and nine prints from the Hebridean photos of Paul Strand (1954) for the Scottish National Portrait Gallery.

One of my favourites among the huge number of paintings which the Fund has helped purchase is Richard Parkes Bonington’s Boccadasse, Genoa with Monte Fasce in the background (1826), shown here.

I also believe in putting my money where my words are: my wife and I have subscribed for several years now, and benefited greatly in savings. National Art Passes are also ideal Christmas gifts.