ACS Studio Prize 2020 Finalists (clockwise): Calum Stevenson, Camilla Hanney, Annie Graham, Habib Hajallie and winner Dion Kitson. All images courtesy of the artists.

ACS Continues to Support Artistic Community Throughout 2020 & 2021
February 18, 2021
With the unprecedented impact of the worldwide pandemic, there is no question that the last twelve months have been challenging.

The Arts especially have faced numerous difficulties in securing funding, finding spaces to make work during lockdown and the cancellation of art fairs, exhibitions, prizes and events.


In the face of so many challenges, we are delighted to have been able to continue supporting graduates, emerging artists and our members over the past year. With so many opportunities in the artistic community being put on hold or cancelled due to COVID-19, ACS has continued to deliver virtual talks, residencies and prizes to artists, students and graduates throughout 2020 and 2021.


In addition to our ongoing commitment to assisting established arts prizes and cultural charities, this past year we are thrilled to have distributed around £1.8 million of ARR royalties to our members, nearly a quarter of which (24.6%) totalled £5,000 or less, distributed to over 375 artists and artists’ estates, highlighting the support that ARR gives to artists and artists’ estates which have only recently started to appear on the secondary market.


Our status as a not-for-profit Community Interest Company (CIC) means that we operate solely for the benefit of our member artists, and that any surplus income we receive is used for the benefit of our members and the wider artistic community. This commitment has supported a wide variety of charities and educational projects since our establishment in 2006.


At the heart of ACS is our work as a CIC and we recognised how important it was that, despite the difficulties in organising and funding art prizes in the past year, we were able to guarantee the return of the ACS Studio Prize in 2020.


Now in its fifth year, the free to enter Prize offers one student or recent graduate £4,500 to help fund an artist’s studio for a year. In a particularly difficult year for students, graduates and the artistic community at large, the need for support and funding was reflected in the number of applications received. Close to 400 art students and recent graduates, from 85 universities, submitted their portfolios – making this year’s Prize the largest edition yet.


The prize was judged (in a socially distanced setting) by distinguished member artists, celebrated painter and author Celia Paul, pioneering contemporary artist Gavin Turk and ACS Managing Director, Harriet Bridgeman CBE. The judges awarded the prize to multidisciplinary artist Dion Kitson, a 2020 graduate of Birmingham School of Art.


The ACS Studio Prize has enabled Kitson to continue making new and ambitious works throughout lockdown. You can read more about the work Kitson has been producing and how the Prize has helped him in our Artist Spotlight interview with the artist, available here.


We were also proud to be able to continue our partnership with the Palazzo Monti Residency Program, an international opportunity for an artist to enjoy a six-week residency in a stunning 13th-century palazzo in Brescia, Italy. Jane Hayes Greenwood was awarded the 2020 residency. Greenwood, receives £2,000 to be used towards travel costs and the associated residency costs for both an apartment and studio at the Palazzo Monti.


Other previous artists-in-residence have included the winner of the 2017 ACS Studio Prize Flora Yukhnovich, who was based there as part of the Great Women Artists initiative. Following the residency, Yukhnovich is now represented by Victoria Miro gallery and has produced a solo show in Venice, in partnership with the gallery.


As well as offering opportunities through our prizes and bursaries, we have also increased our ARR & Copyright talks.


Over the past twelve months, ACS Senior Manager, Kimberley Ahmet, has delivered a series of virtual talks designed to equip students with essential practical knowledge regarding copyright. These have taken place at the Slade School of Fine Art (UCL), Kingston University and the Royal Drawing School. In addition, ACS has contributed to educational literature on the subject for Turf Projects, as part of their Arts Council England funded Artist Groundwork series.


This year marks the 15th anniversary of Artist’s Resale Right. Since 2012, ACS has re-invested over £144,888 back into the artistic community and we are proud to support a wide range of artistic causes, including prizes, charities and bursaries for Fine Art students at higher education institutions. You can see a full list of all of our sponsorship opportunities and previous winners on our Prizes & Bursaries page.


We look forward to continuing to support our member artists and artists’ estates throughout the coming year!