Artists' General Benevolent Institution

Supporting professional visual artists
and their families since 1814
Supporting professional visual artists and their families since 1814
Supporting professional visual artists and their families since 1814
Our History
The AGBI was founded in 1814 by members of the Royal Academy of Arts including J.M.W. Turner, John Constable and John Soane and was incorporated by Royal Charter in 1842. It is one of the oldest charities in the United Kingdom.
Our Purpose
The AGBI provides financial support to visual artists and their dependents in need who live in England, Wales or Northern Ireland and who cannot work or earn due to injury or illness.
Our Vision
The AGBI is the benevolent fund that professional visual artists contact in times of need. The AGBI provides grants and a space for artists to gather the community and discuss the complex issues they experience. We aspire to be the safety net for all professional visual artists across all visual mediums and identities.
Our Values
The AGBI is an artist-led benevolent fund.

Our values underline our commitment to our applicants, donors, staff, and members. We outline the following as our core values.
Visual artists are at the centre of all that we do. The AGBI operates with a unique understanding of the complex challenges faced by visual artists in need. Being artist-led means drawing from the breadth of knowledge and artist’s perspectives of our Trustees and Artists Council. We develop programmes specifically for visual artists and believe that the power to make positive change exists within our community.

Discretion and Integrity
AGBI staff, Trustees and Committee Members operate with discretion and integrity. We provide confidential support and do not disclose details of who, why or how we have supported applicants. Upholding these values gives our applicants the confidence they need when asking for support.

We uphold the agency of the visual artists who apply and support them through difficult times with grant giving, medical consultations, information and peer-to-peer support sessions. We believe it is important for visual artists to maintain autonomy over their lives and our support helps them to help themselves. We do not provide instruction or conditions to our applicants.

Our applicants face challenges unique to themselves, and no two applicants are the same. The AGBI operates with openness and empathy for every individual circumstance that is shared with us. We take time to listen to our applicants, we do not judge any applicant and we communicate with authenticity, empathy and kindness. We recognise our responsibility to create a safe environment for sharing to take place and for trust to build. We are privileged to hear the artist’s life stories which they choose to share with the AGBI.

Inclusivity and Diversity
We support visual artists regardless of their background or their identities. We recognise the existing structures within the art world that are tied to specific identities and how they act as barriers to marginalised groups. We are changing how we learn and how we raise our awareness with under-represented groups to support all visual artists in need who meet our criteria.
Who do we help?
Any professional artist, no matter what their medium, can apply for help if they have earned their living or major part of it from art. Surviving partners and orphaned children of artists are also eligible to apply.

Eligibility Criteria
The AGBI looks at the training, qualifications, details of exhibitions, art-based employment and the number of years an applicant has made a living from art. The AGBI is presented with original examples of an applicant’s work and, where relevant, recent letters from an applicant’s GP or consultant confirming their medical circumstances.
How we help
The AGBI is the only benevolent fund targeted specifically to support artists in times of need. The support we give is person-centred, non-judgemental, delivered with compassion and confidential.

Support from the AGBI is given in the form of a grant for a period of one year. Sometimes this is all that is needed, but help can be longer term depending on the situation of the applicant. For these long-term cases, the circumstances are reviewed annually by the AGBI Artists Council who meet regularly and discusses each case and agrees the level of financial help an applicant needs in the coming year.

For further information about the AGBI grants programme, to refer a potential applicant or for general enquiries contact the office on 020 7734 1193.

Case studies

Read the story of how we've helped several artists who have found themselves in need.

Bicentenary print

42 leading British artists have contributed to the making of a limited edition print celebrating our bicentenary.

Our impact

Read about our performance and the number of artists we've supported. You can also download our Annual Reports, and our yearly Impact Reports.

How to help

The recipients of our support rely on your donations, and you can donate directly from our how to help page.

There are many ways that you can help us continue the work we've done for over 200 years by donations, legacies and Gift Aid.

Artists' charity cards

Every year, we sell Christmas cards to raise funds for the AGBI.

Thank you to everyone who purchased cards in 2023; all profits of the sale of these cards goes to support the work we do.

Get in contact

Click here to find our contact details and the AGBI postal address.
Are you able to support?

We're one of the UK's oldest charities, and we rely on your donations to assist artists who are facing financial hardship. We are able to accept single donations, or donations that repeat every month, and many of our generous benefactors support us with legacies in their wills. If you'd like to find out more, please follow this link to see how you can help.
Supporting professional visual artists and their families since 1814

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