How We Work

‘The Arts Council Collection remains the most important national collection of contemporary art in Britain and it is a resource for a wide-ranging set of curated exhibitions that really reach out to the whole of the nation and expose very different publics to the excitingly varied and diverse work of this country’s artists.’
Antony Gormley | Artist

The Arts Council Collection supports and promotes British art and artists by acquiring their work at an early or critical stage in their career. With a focus on innovative work made by artists living in Britain, our acquisitions policy is characterised by a spirit of risk-taking combined with an informed appraisal of current practice.

Every year the Arts Council Collection acquires work through an annual acquisitions process. Between 2016 and 2017, the Arts Council Collection acquired 45 new works by 29 artists.

Acquisitions are made through a committee of eight individuals: four internal and four external. The external advisers to the Acquisitions Committee usually include an artist, a writer and a curator, and are appointed for a fixed two-year tenure, alongside representatives from National Partners Programme venues who have a shorter, one-year tenure.

The Collection has received support in the past from the Henry Moore FoundationArt Fund and Outset Contemporary Art Fund for particularly ambitious acquisitions.


Learn more about the Acquisitions Committee

New works are acquired for the Collection with a spirit of risk taking combined with an informed appraisal of current artistic practice.
Browse our latest acquisitions

45 works by 29 artists were acquired for the nation in 2016-2017.
Gifts & Bequests

In addition to works purchased through the annual acquisitions process, the Collection has also received gifts through donations made by artists and their estates.

The Arts Council Collection is the UK's most widely seen collection of modern and contemporary art.

With nearly 8,000 works by over 2,000 artists, it can be seen in exhibitions and public displays across the country and beyondThis website offers unprecedented access to the Collection, and information about each work can be found on this site.