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Mircea Cantor, 'Hiatus', 2008, lambda print, commissioned by Modern Art Oxford, Arnolfini, and Camden Art Centre as part of the 3 series: 3 artists/3places/3 years

“The new CAS Annual Award for Museums is worth £60,000 each year to one of our museum members; we are launching this new prize as part of our centenary programme during 2009/10. The award offers the opportunity for a museum to develop its collection by commissioning a significant new work by a contemporary artist in response to its permanent collection. The work then enters the collection. The award intends to encourage institutions to take risks with the business of commissioning to collect; it will allow the opportunity to break away from traditional approaches, to develop a close working relationship between artist and institution as well as extending the artist’s practice. We would also like the award to encourage local patronage, through the inspirational lead of the Sfumato Foundation, which has initiated this new prize and has agreed to fund it for the first three years.

Selected by a panel of internationally acclaimed artists, the award aspires to bring artists closer to the concerns and values of the museums and their audiences. Equally, it should bring the museums closer to the artist’s ideas and the process of art production. This is potentially an inspirational context for engaging audiences in contemporary art.

We are very interested in developing new models for commissioning to collect through this new initiative, by using the award and the commissioning process to support the professional development of museum curators involved in our National Network programme, and exploring how working with artists in this way can influence the culture of those institutions and offer new ways of engaging audiences in both historic and contemporary art collections.

The award will be shortlisted and selected by a panel of acclaimed artists, which in this inaugural year includes Martin Boyce, Rosalind Nashashibi, Olivia Plender and Fiona Tan. The winner will be announced in November 2009 and the commissioning process will commence immediately with a view to creating a significant new work and exhibition within the next 12 months.“Contemporary Art Society Annual Award announced November 2009