TFEA began life in 1999 as the Essex Gallery Commission to campaign for the construction of a building to showcase Essex arts. Three of the founding members were our present Chair Trevor Harwood, Mike Harrington and Elizabeth Grant. The Commission’s engagement with Thames Gateway, Southend Council and Chelmsford Council included research, lobbying and project proposals. Two great projects were achieved: The Basildon Heritage Project and Our Basildon.
The Essex Gallery Commission formalised as a registered charity in April 2011 as The Foundation for Essex Arts Ltd. In 2012 Peter Patterson and Geoff Williams Trustees of the Basildon Arts Trust (BAT) set up in 1978 sought advice on care for the BAT Collection. Following board retirements in 2013, Elizabeth Grant proposed a merger with BAT as many objectives were shared. TFEA continued caring for the BAT Collection and embarking on our new mission; enriching lives through the arts.
To ensure ongoing care of the BAT Collection funds were required and these were raised at auction through Christie's of London of seven large 1950s/60s abstract paintings gifted in the early 1980s from the Stuyvesant Foundation to the Basildon Arts Trust (BAT). With the remaining funds a bursary was established in partnership with the University of the Arts London (UAL) to help students from Basildon and Essex facing financial hardship. We are unique benefactors to UAL in that recipients can study any arts subject across the UAL colleges. The TFEA/BAT Bursary was launched at a Private View at the Beecroft Gallery in Essex on Friday 15th January 2016 at the commencement of the TFEA/BAT Collection Exhibition (January to March 2016).
Images :TFEA / BAT Bursary Launch and exhibition at Beecroft Art Gallery, Southend, January 2016, and TFEA attendance at Christie's of London for sale of artworks.