AccessArt Celebrates 25 Years!

AccessArt 25 Year

In 2024 AccessArt celebrates 25 years! Find out more about our journey, and how you can join in our celebrations below.

Team & trustees celebrate 25 years

“Far reaching, insightful, celebratory and ambitious” Team and Trustees meet in York

The 8 Values Which drive accessArt

Read about the 8 values which drive AccessArt, and see how we are commissioning artists to help illustrate these values

THe Model Accessart School

Find out about our collaboration with Postcard Models to build AccessArt Schools across the country!

shouting louder about art education

For a chance to win one of the AccessArt School kits, tell us what “art education” means to you and help us shout louder about the value of visual arts education.

One cold, rainy morning in January 1999, I received a phone call from the then DfES. The woman started the call with the words: “What is the best news someone could call you with on such a rainy January day?”

She went on to announce we had been awarded money from the DfES Museums & Galleries Education Programme (yes there was such a thing in those days) to set up AccessArt.

Great news indeed. Imagine a time in which the government valued art and design education so much that they were willing to give over £100,000 to a newly formed organisation, to invest in artist-led education. Forward looking indeed. 

Just a couple of years later we also received money from NESTA, established by Labour as an endowment. This money helped us grow further, clarify our aims and establish ourself as a charity.

What a legacy has been created out of those initial grants, and out of that initial belief in the importance of visual arts education. We are now a thriving team, leading a self-sustaining, and growing, arts organisation, with  22,000 members. Each of those members uses our resources with their own audiences, to inspire and enable high quality arts education. 

So, this year we celebrate 25 years, continuing to help define what great art education might look like, with vision and clarity. We have a feeling it’s going to be an important year – not just for AccessArt, but also on the cusp, hopefully, of a wider understanding about the importance of visual arts education, and what we need to do to prioritise learning in the arts.

As a subject association, AccessArt is working with many other arts organisations to help inform this shift. Momentum is growing and we are optimistic that despite pressures on politicians from so many different angles, there is shared belief that we need to rethink our education system. 

So let’s all keep faith and trusting in what we know is right – that great art education empowers and enables. Good luck in 2024 and let’s keep moving forward with energy.

Paula Briggs, CEO & Creative Director, AccessArt

AccessArt Timeline

  • 1999

    AccessArt is Created

    With a grant from the DfES Museums & Galleries Fund, Paula Briggs & Sheila Ceccarelli establish AccessArt. Our aim was simple: to share the exciting ways artists teach art, in all settings. 

  • 2002

    Nesta Funded

    A major grant from NESTA helped to develop projects and clarify thinking.

  • 2004

    Charity Status

    AccessArt becomes a Registered Charity and Registered Company.

  • 2011

    Membership Launched

    We decide to make the leap from being a project-funded organisation to a membership organisation.

  • 2020

    Self-Sustaining Organisation

    By year end 2020 memberships stand at 6000 and we have over 1000 resources.

  • 2022

    Primary Art Curriculum Launched

    By year end 2022 memberships stand at over 16,000 and we become a Subject Association for Art.

  • 2024

    25 Years

    In February 2024 our membership stands at over 22,000, supported by a close-knit and creative team and trustees. 

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