Art360 initiative lets artists take the long view

Three-year archive programme will focus on Modern British and contemporary artists, starting with three women


A new initiative aimed at developing and sustaining artists’ archives, ensuring their legacies endure and remain relevant, has been launched by the UK non-profit organisation, the DACS Foundation. The new scheme, Art360, will run for three years, encompassing artists from the Modern British canon (1900-2000) and contemporary artists active between 2000 and 2014.

“Artists [and artists’ estates] sel ected from the application process will be supported by a budget of up to £6,000 and offered a range of expert advice and technical support in developing sustainable systems to manage their legacies for the future,” says a project statement.

Documents and materials discovered by artists as they mine their archives—such as drawings and film interviews—will be posted online as part of the project.

The DACS Foundation is affiliated to the organisation of the same name, which collects and distributes royalties in the UK. The open submission launched on 19 February. The artists Rose English, Liliane Lijn and Maria Chevska are among the first participants.

Chevska says there are two motivations. “First, there is the practical issue for one’s heirs, who are not art-orientated, and, secondly, I think that my generation has a huge number of women artists who will have spent their lives dedicated to making art. If many of these are archived for posterity, art history will be significantly changed. Such a scheme is long overdue, if only because the day-to-day pressures of life always get in the way of an artist taking the long view.”

The Art Fund charity is a project partner; its director, Stephen Deuchar, tells us: “We are pleased to be collaborating with the DACS Foundation on Art360. Safeguarding artists’ legacies in perpetuity is an important and timely concern, and this project is addressing these complex issues with subtlety and determination. Art360 promises to provide an essential resource for museums and anyone interested in engaging with the work of contemporary artists in Britain.”

The project is part funded by the National Lottery through Arts Council England, which has awarded £250,000 to Art360. A launch event, Art360: the Gift and its Legacy, took place last week at Goldsmiths, University of London.