Philanthropic Alternatives | The C Art Trust Award

Artists forge their own path in many ways, self-generated and self-funded projects and events are the norm. The size and instability of the market here also means even artists that are seen as successful often have second jobs in or outside of the sector to support their art making. In light of this, at Artists Alliance we are always excited to hear of opportunities for New Zealand artists (see last week’s article on the Neu Kirche residency here). Residencies and awards can give the artist a much needed opportunity to be relieved from financial pressures and to focus on experimentation or a particular body of work.

The C Art Trust formed in recent years to provide such an award, however, it follows a rather different model to that which we’re used to.

The award goes to a single New Zealand artist, their first recipient being artist Jeena Shin in 2014. There is no application process, instead the recipient is invited. Using strength in numbers, the trust encourages the donation of 15 patrons who contribute a sum of $3,500 each, to provide an income for a single artist over the space of a year. The trust was set up with the intention of creating a time for an artist where they could become time rich in order to create and experiment with their work, instead of favouring paying jobs with the uncertainty of the small market here at home.

Clearly many people are not in a position to contribute to this sort of funding, but there is a necessary space for this. Projects that emphasise experimentation instead of culmination, give freedom to the artist to enhance their practice in a unique way. The length of the award is also significant. Most residencies last only half as long, and also take the artist out of their home environment. These awards and residencies are still fantastic opportunities, it is simply nice to see alternative models popping up.

The broader goals of The Trust are to develop audiences for New Zealand contemporary art, encourage the appreciation and understanding of contemporary art practices, and to stimulate an interest in collecting contemporary art through connecting people to the private gallery sector, which in turn contributes substantially to the development of artists. Part of this is providing the patrons, in return for their donation, a programme of events across the year, such as studio tours and private viewings, and a memento from the artist.

This year’s recipient is Andrew Barber. The C Art Trust writes,

In Andrew Barber’s recent painting specific, often contrary, art historical conventions are brought together to inform and blur each other, proposing a practice that is, on one hand, indebted to the privileged tropes of Modernism, and on the other, revels in conflating these styles with their popular derivations. Whether intimate or architectural in scale, Barber’s work is also always about painting’s physicality. He creates works by deconstructing and reconstructing paintings through their basic elements – canvas, paint, wood stretchers- and all his products bear incidental marks of their production.

The opportunity seems idyllic, and one would hope that it will become a well-recognised model of artist sponsorship here in New Zealand. You can read a bit more about the project and Andrew Barber here: