Ben Uri Chairman, David Glasser discusses the early years of Ben Uri.
We are a registered charity and the only specialist art museum in Europe addressing universal and ever-more central issues of identity and migration through the visual arts.
Emerging from and representing the Jewish community, our collection principally reflects the work, lives and contribution of British and European artists of Jewish descent, interpreted within the wider context of twentieth and twenty-first century art history, politics and society.
From our inception as an art society in Whitechapel in 1915, to our current status as a museum with an international reach, the collection has grown to more than 1300 works across 30 different mediums. Made up of both historical and contemporary works, the Ben Uri collection spans 120 years and includes 380 artists from 35 countries, of which 67% are émigrés and 27% women. Find out more about our history in our 100 year timeline, online gallery and archives and how we’re now looking for a new home.
From our temporary exhibition space in St. John’s Wood, we have an exciting and varied exhibition programme, exploring and incorporating works from our own collection. We have an extensive learning programme for teachers, schools and families, including free visits, workshops, art classes and projects with local schools. We also have an art and wellbeing programme and work in collaboration with three community partners.
Our purpose is to connect with the largest possible audience, drawn from the widest possible communities, in our exploration of Ben Uri’s artists – and to encourage others to explore their own identity and creativity.
- Be known as ‘The Art Museum for Everyone’ with no ethnic, religious or other barriers to engagement
- Each migrant community feels ownership, kinship and belonging to the gallery and museum
- Make a real difference to people’s confidence and lives through engagement, creativity and wellbeing
- Celebrate and share the rich Jewish Experience in the visual arts with a diverse set of fellow émigré communities as partners
- Continue to enhance our world-class collection adding yet greater depth and range so it is seen and explored across all boundaries
- Ben Uri Museum of Art, Identity and Migration incorporating the Ben Uri Collection earns its place on the ‘must visit’ priority list in London
- c. 50,000 sq. ft. sustainable self-financing Museum with local, national and international visitor and community engagement at its heart
- Located within an easy short walk of a major National Gallery or Museum or within the centre of a major transport and cultural tourist hub
- Tell the story of migration to London from all the principal émigré communities and artists’ perspectives
- Be a catalyst for other great cities in the UK and abroad to similarly explore, embrace and celebrate different émigré cultures as equals within their own diverse societies
- Recognised as the best, most interesting and engaging art and migration museum in the world