THE FRUITMARKET GALLERY and KAREN & MARK SMITH
The Fruitmarket Gallery programmes exhibitions with the best Scottish and International artists and enriches these with a wide variety of cultural and educational events. Committed to making contemporary art accessible without under-estimating audiences or compromising art or the ideas it enacts the Fruitmarket creates a welcoming space for people to think with art in ways that are meaningful to them – for free. The Fruitmarket Gallery is has recently embarked on OPEN OUT - a transformational project to upgrade its existing building, meeting the expectations of and revitalising relationships with twenty-first century art, artists and audiences. The Fruitmarket will re-open in 2020 with connected, collaborative spaces where they can continue to deliver their highly respected visual arts programme while also being able to respond to opportunities that offer audiences more choice, ways to connect and participate in cultural activities.
Karen and Mark were introduced to The Fruitmarket Gallery by the artist, Emma Hart, and became the inaugural members of the Emma Hart Supporters’ Circle with a donation of £1,000 in September 2018. The Circle unites like-minded individuals with a passion for Emma’s work, and enabled the Gallery to commission brand new works from the artist, resulting in a step-change in her artistic practice as well as opening up her work to new audiences. Further to their personal donation, Karen and Mark hosted a cultivation event for thirty people at their home in London to encourage new prospects to join the Circle, which resulted in just over £15,000 in donations. Karen also worked closely with the Gallery to curate a weekend of cultural activities for a 16-strong group of supporters, to both celebrate the opening of Emma Hart’s latest exhibition, as well as to strengthen ongoing and future collaborations with the Gallery.
Fiona Bradley, Director, The Fruitmarket Gallery:
“It is hugely encouraging when a good news story about arts philanthropy emerges, and we are so happy to be part of that story. Ever since meeting Karen and Mark a little over a year ago, we have been spurred on by their wholehearted enthusiasm for helping artists and arts organisations to come together in order to make something that is new, bold and exciting. In times when funding is often very focused and restricted, the generosity of individuals like Karen and Mark is so important. It gives our programme, the artists that we work with and our audiences an energy and freedom; and we are thrilled to be able to celebrate their support through the Achates Philanthropy Prize.”
“It can be so easy to be London centric when you are based in London. The Emma Hart supporters’ circle which we became involved with meant we got to know at a deeper and more meaningful level the team at the gallery and the dynamic contemporary art exhibition programme they run. We see it very much as a two way exchange. We were so glad we could help the Fruitmarket raise funds for the exhibition circle and as a by-product raise awareness of their programme and the gallery, but we felt we got as much back in return.”