Artbank

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Artbank is an art rental program established in 1980 by the government of Australia. It supports contemporary Australian artists and encourages a wider appreciation of their work by buying artworks which it then rents to public and private sector clients. It was modeled on the Canadian Art Bank, where the revenue raised from art rental is reinvested into new purchases. Artbank is part of the Australian Government's Department Communications and the Arts.

As of November 2012, Artbank has 10,000 works of art in its collection, which is valued at more than A$36.5 million. Artbank spends up to A$1,000,000 annually purchasing artworks from the primary market. The collection includes the works of more than 3,000 Australian artists from a diverse range of media and styles. Indigenous and non-Indigenous artists from each state and territory in Australia are represented.

Artbank has showrooms and collection stores in Sydney, Melbourne and Perth, Australia. Its current charter is as follows:

  • To encourage contemporary Australian artists by acquiring their work
  • To stimulate a wider appreciation of Australian art by making it available for display in public places, particularly work locations, throughout Australian and in official posts overseas
  • To operate an art rental scheme directed to both public and private sector clients
  • To manage the Artbank collection on behalf of the Commonwealth

Currently, Artbank is staffed by 19 people including Director Tony Stephens and Senior Curator Daniel Mudie Cunningham.

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