Supporting visual arts

Hand drawn iIllustration by Supermundane with lots of intricate lines and patterns

England has a dynamic visual arts sector that seeks constantly to reinvent itself and is notable for blurring boundaries and collaborating with other creative disciplines. During 2014–15 we invested £79.1 million to fund projects across a broad range of media, such as painting or moving image work. 

The Arts Council Collection

Explore the largest national collection of modern and contemporary British art

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Image of Grayson Perry's The Adoration of the Cage Fighters'
Grayson Perry, The Adoration of the Cage Fighters, 2012. Gift of the artist and Victoria Miro Gallery with the support of Channel 4 Television, the Art Fund and Sfumato Foundation with additional support from AlixPartners. Photo © Arts Council Collection,

#culturematters: Investing in emerging artists

Love Late: Brighton Museum and Art Gallery

#culturematters: Investing in emerging artists

Love Late: Brighton Museum and Art Gallery

Audiences for the visual arts are healthy and growing, but artists need the right support to allow their work and businesses to flourish. As both a funder and a development agency, we invest in and support artists to extend their work and reach more people.

We want to support the development of visual arts’ activity outside traditional gallery spaces, to bring work to new audiences. We have developed a number of partnerships with heritage organisations including the National Trust, Forestry Commission and Canal and Rivers Trust bring contemporary visual art to new and diverse audiences around England.

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Latest news, blog posts and case studies

A bright blue painting featuring portraits and bottles of hair product.

Is It Okay To Be Black?

British artist Hurvin Anderson’s new painting for the Arts Council Collection asks, Is It Okay to be Black?

Brightly coloured and exotic plants

Plant life in modern art

This Arts Council Collection exhibition brings together art that investigates the links between people and plants.

Painting of two young boys sitting on rocks looking out at a bay

Marine painting exhibition

An exhibition celebrating paintings of the Cornish coast from leading marine artists at Penlee House Gallery & Museum

A painting of a man with a paintbrush in his mouth

Buy art: change lives

Koestler Trust puts art by offenders on sale to the public for the first time outside of their exhibitions.

Block colours painted onto a corner wall

Hospital Rooms

A Grants for the Arts funded initiative in London installing world-class art in mental health wards

Lots of people on Folkestone Beach searching for gold as part of Folkestone Triennial 2014

Ambitions for Folkestone

Arts and cultural provision in Folkestone is getting a huge boost thanks to Arts Council England and the Creative Foundation.

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Image captions
Top left to bottom right: 1. Plymouth Music Zone participants making music. Photo © Plymouth Music Zone / Kevin Clifford. 2. New Vic Theatre's 2015 production of Dracula. Photo © Andrew Billington / New Vic Theatre 3. Grayson Perry, The Adoration of the Cage Fighters, 2012. Gift of the artist and Victoria Miro Gallery with the support of Channel 4 Television, the Art Fund and Sfumato Foundation with additional support from AlixPartners. Photo © Arts Council Collection, 4. Hurvin Anderson, Is It Ok To Be Black (2016). Photo © courtesy of the artist and Thomas Dane Gallery, London 5. Marc Quinn, Arts Council Collection, Southbank Centre, London. Photo © Marc Quinn. 6. John Brett (1831 – 1902) Golden Prospects, St Catherine’s Well, Land’s End, 1881 Oil on canvas, 106.5 x 214 cm. Image courtesy of Nottingham Castle Museum and Galleries 7. A Koestler Trust Awards 2016 entry. Photo © Koestler Trust 8. Hospital Rooms: Dining room detail. Photo © Tim A Shaw 9. Gold Rush! at Folkestone Triennial 2014. Creative Foundation © Thierry Bal 10. Land Speed Record Toys. Photo © Tom Wood / National Motor Museum 11. 'Transe Express' by Seachange Arts at the Out There International Festival of Circus and Street Arts, 2015. Photo © David Street / Streetview Marketing 12. Rifco Arts: Break the Floorboards @ Watford Palace Theatre, 2013. Photo © Manuel Harlan. 13. Daniel Copeland performs Joseph Coelho's Tree Child on the Spark Arts tour. Photo © Pamela Raith Photography / The Spark Arts 14. New Wolsey Youth Theatre's Through The Looking Glass. Photo © Mike Kwasniak 15. Exeter's Royal Albert Memorial Museum & Art Gallery. Photo © RAMM Exeter 16. Musiko Musika's ECCO Concert at Southbank Centre, February 2014. Photo © Harriet Armstrong / Musiko Musika. 17. It's A Wonderful Life by New Wolsey Theatre. Photo © Mike Kwasniak.