The Gulbenkian Prize for museums and galleries is principally funded by the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, whose Headquarters are in Lisbon. For fifty years the Foundation’s UK Branch has been a pioneering funder of developments in contemporary arts, education and social policy in the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland and a leading agency in the promotion of Portuguese culture.
The Arts Programme has traditionally played an active role in encouraging artists and arts organisations, including museums, to find original and inventive ways of developing their practice. It currently has two funding programmes, The Arts in Public Spaces and The Arts and Science.
Calouste Sarkis Gulbenkian was an Armenian, who became a British citizen and conducted his business in London before finally settling in Portugal. His distinguished private collection of art and artefacts is housed in the Calouste Gulbenkian Museum in Lisbon, which is recognised as one of the best small museums in Europe. The tradition of collecting has been continued by the Foundation and the holdings of its Modern Art Centre include an extensive collection of modern British artworks.