Prince Charles, heir to the British throne, rewarded designer Terence Conran and four other recipients for their contributions to the arts.
They received the Prince of Wales Medal for Arts Philanthropy at St. James’s Palace in London today. The prize giving is managed by Arts & Business, a nonprofit organization that has the prince as its patron.
Conran is helping pay for the Design Museum’s move into its future home, the Commonwealth Institute in Kensington, which is three times bigger. He has given 7.5 million pounds ($12.2 million) in cash as well as the proceeds from the sale of the lease on the current building, valued at 10 million pounds.
“The arts clearly are under significant pressure with the government funding cutbacks,” said Jonathan Moulds, who chairs Arts & Business’s leadership team, and headed Bank of America Merrill Lynch’s European operations until earlier this year. “Anything that can be done to recognize individuals and leading institutions that are making a difference is all for the good.”
Moulds, a philanthropist himself, said it was “unrealistic in the short term” to expect donors in the U.K. to fill gaps in government cultural funding. “We’re not anywhere near a critical mass of people giving,” he said.
The four other recipients are:
- Mathew Prichard, grandson of Agatha Christie, manager and part-owner of her literary estate, and a patron of the arts in Wales;
- Peter Moores, a music lover whose foundation is winding down after giving away more than 215 million pounds to charitable causes;
- Gerald and Margaret Elliot, who are benefactors of the Edinburgh International Festival and of National Galleries of Scotland, among other Scottish cultural recipients;
- Jane Rayne, whose family has donated more than 60 million pounds to institutions including the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment and Chickenshed Theatre.
One 2011 honoree has been invited to pick up her medal today. She is Theresa Sackler, whose unquantified pledge to the Serpentine Gallery in 2010 allowed it to beat Damien Hirst to an adjacent Hyde Park space -- The Magazine -- which architect Zaha Hadid is now redesigning.
Sackler’s foundation, active all over the globe, has made donations in the U.K. to the National Gallery, the Royal Opera House, and the Natural History Museum, among others.