Artists' General Benevolent Institution

Helping professional artists for more than 200 years
Case Studies
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.

Freya is a professional artist living in East London. Her work is primarily video and performance based. She has had numerous shows both here in the UK and internationally. Since her late-teenage years Freya has experienced clinical depression which at times is debilitating and consumes her to the point where she feels she cannot cope. During these periods of mental ill health her relationships and her work are significantly affected; she has been hospitalised several times and put under the supervision of her community mental health team.

Freya’s gallery contacted the AGBI following a deterioration in her mental health. The AGBI team worked closely with Freya, her family and her support network to establish how best to help. After carefully considering her application the AGBI agreed to assist with a monthly grant for six months to contribute towards her essential living expenses whilst she was unable to work. The AGBI remains in close contact with this artist.

Arnold came to the attention of the AGBI following a referral by a fellow artist. Having studied at The Slade School of Fine Art in the 1950s, he enjoyed a career as a painter for many years. His abstract paintings were exhibited with several London galleries in the 1960s and 1970s.

Arnold has dementia, a condition which affects many aspects of his life. He lives alone but has the support of his daughter. Since 1992, he has rented a studio in East London where he worked and stored hundreds of paintings, but with annual rent increases and the progression of his condition, Arnold came to the decision that maintaining this studio was no longer viable.

In consultation with Arnold and his daughter, the AGBI paid for his work to be moved from the studio into an affordable storage space which Arnold can manage financially. The AGBI also paid for his spare room to be adapted into a studio space, with storage racks to enable Arnold to continue painting in the safety of his own home. A regular grant from the AGBI ensures that he can continue to afford art materials and is supported with his daily living expenses.

Nora lives in northern England. She was referred to the AGBI by her gallery following the death of her husband. She is an artist and fine art lecturer, with two small children. Her husband, who was also an artist, had been ill for several years. His death was a huge loss to Nora, her children and the close-knit arts community to which they both belonged.

On meeting Nora, she described the death of her husband at such a young age as completely life-changing: 'Being labelled as a widow at my age, is a badge I never wanted to wear…' With no close family members living nearby, becoming the sole carer for her children and maintaining her career as an artist and lecturer became increasingly challenging.

The AGBI agreed to financially support Nora with her essential living and household expenses. The AGBI Children’s Fund agreed to fund ‘after-school child care’ to enable Nora to continue working. The AGBI also paid for a family respite break for Nora and her two children.
Helping professional artists for more than 200 years

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