The AGBI financially supports professional artists in need and their dependents living in England, Wales or Northern Ireland who cannot work or earn due to accident, illness or older age. The AGBI is run by a Council of mainly practicing artists, applied artists, art custodians and medical professionals who give their time freely and meet regularly to discuss cases. The Council is supported by a small team of staff.
Who does the AGBI help? Any professional artist, painter, sculptor, illustrator or art teacher at A-level or above can apply for help if they have earned their living (or major part of it) from art. Widows and orphaned children of artists are also eligible for help. Unfortunately, the AGBI is unable to assist in cases when an artist is unable to find a market for their work. The AGBI is unable to assist with legal fees, business difficulties or education grants for mature students.
The AGBI supports artists who are in difficult circumstances. When an artist’s life, career and health start to collapse the AGBI is often the only benevolent fund to which they can turn.
The support we give is person-centered, meaning we do our best to help our applicants in the most appropriate and meaningful way.
Michael was referred to the AGBI in May 2016. He studied at the Slade School of Art in the 1950s and had taught and exhibited extensively throughout the country for over 50 years. In 2014 he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, his wife, also an artist, had become his full-time carer. Michael had carers going in to assist him twice a day but his wife was under great strain and could not cope. In recent years the couple had fallen into debt and were relying on credit cards to pay for the food and household bills.
The AGBI agreed to send a monthly grant to support this couple’s household bills and lift them out of their debt, with our support they were able to be debt free in a matter of months which was a great relief for this couple. They were able to manage their finances much better with our support.
In February 2017, Michael peacefully passed away surrounded by his family. The AGBI contributed toward the costs of his funeral. His wife remains supported by the AGBI.
Joanna was referred to the AGBI in December 2016. She studied at the Royal College of Art in the late 1990s and had forged her artistic career in video and collage installations exhibiting at the Venice Biennale and various London galleries in recent years.
During her pregnancy with her first child and after a divorce, Joanna moved to Suffolk for a fresh start. Shortly after her move she started to experience severe migraines and vertigo. These symptoms remained after the birth of her child and she was later diagnosed with a brain tumour. The diagnosis had a huge impact on Joanna’s life emotionally and for her art practice. The condition affected her vision and her hands tremored uncontrollably making it impossible to continue working which resulted in cancelled exhibitions and loss of earnings.
Joanna underwent surgery and therapy to reduce the size of her tumour. Thankfully, she is now convalescing and her condition is improving. The AGBI supported Joanna with a one-off grant to pay for additional child care whilst she was unwell and to pay her rent for the entire year. This support was life changing for Joanna, who says she would not have coped without the AGBI’s support.