NCVO and Social Enterprise UK
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Case Study: Big Art Trust

Name of organisation

The Big Art Trust

Legal form

A company limited by guarantee (CLG) without charitable status.

Where, what and how

The Big Art Trust was set up in 2005 to promote public art across the UK, focusing in particular in engaging local communities and other stakeholders in the commissioning process.

It was established by the producers of a major 2009 arts documentary series on Channel 4 – The Big Art Project, and was funded by The Arts Council for England, The Art Fund [Arts and Business and the Northern Way] as well as a number of local authorities and other statutory bodies.

The organisation is a foundation – that is, its directors are also its only members. These are made up of various stakeholders including a representative from Channel 4, Carbon Media (the television production company), a charity lawyer, an arts curator, and other specialists and consultants within the arts world. Only one staff member was employed by the trust.

Whilst it was not possible for this organisation to have charitable status the founders wanted the organisation to offer limited liability status for its directors and to have the recognised not-for-profit form that a company limited by guarantee offers. This was particularly important to enable it to attract grant funding from the bodies mentioned above.

Why the form fits

A company limited by guarantee with an asset lock allows the Big Art Trust to demonstrate to funders its not for profit status.