Maeve Brennan (Visual Arts: 25th Anniversary Awards, 2018)The Drift

What We Do

The Arts Foundation is a registered charity that supports artists and creatives in the UK with no strings attached financial support. It was set up by anonymous bequest in order to support UK-based artists from across the spectrum of the Arts, and since 1993 we have given nearly £2million to creatives. 

The annual Arts Foundation Futures Awards (AFFAs) gives out five £10,000 fellowships every year. These are awarded on the basis of past work and enable future development.

The contribution of the Arts Foundation Future Awards to the arts in the UK is demonstrated by many of our fellows. To name just a few: Wayne McGregor (Choreographer, 1994); Sarah Kane (Playwriting, 1998); Ali Smith (Writer, 2001); Asif Kapadia (Film Directing, 2001); Rufus Norris (Theatre, 2002); Carol Morley (Film, 2003); Brothers Quay (Animation, 2004). For some, the award has given them the support and encouragement to pursue their practice full-time such as Lynette Yiadom-Boakye (2006).

Playwright Alice Birch receiving her award at the 2014 Arts Foundation Awards

The Foundation is run by a Board of Trustees, who offer expertise across the arts. The trustees select five art forms, which frame the categories for each year, across the broad fields of Craft and Design, Film, Literature, Music, New Media, Performing and Visual Arts.

Changing categories allows us to highlight innovative practices in both new and traditional art forms, and shine a spotlight on practices that might be less well served by other awards at the time, such as Children’s Theatre (2016), Short Story Writing (2001) and Choral Conducting (2015).

To identify talented artists resident in the UK, the Arts Foundation is fortunate to work with a range of professionals close to the art forms, who feed into the process of nomination and judging. The recipient of the award gets £10,000, and all shortlisted artists each receive £1,000.

Arts Foundation Fellow and Artistic Director of the National Theatre, Rufus Norris so succinctly explained at the 25th Anniversary Awards;

‘It certainly had the most profound effect on my career because it did exactly what it was meant to do. In that it brought me time, time to follow my own initiative, my own instinct rather than trying to persuade anyone else that I could follow theirs. In that year I laid the foundation, of my own art for projects which took me, rung by rung, towards what has for some years been a very compelling and fortunate way to spend a working life. So, I for one am eternally grateful.’