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ArtULTRA supports the development of emerging artists and artistic projects in order to create a more diverse and vibrant art world. ArtULTRA was launched in 2021 by Alice Black, former director of London’s Design Museum.  Through its digital platform, it gives emerging artists access to an extensive database of opportunities, publishes monthly artist features and has recently launched artwork sales. ArtULTRA also works with businesses and institutions to create artist-led projects

The genesis of ArtULTRA 

ArtULTRA was created out of the desire to provide support for artists at a time of great need. It began as blue sky thinking by Alice Black during the first lockdown in 2020, when reflecting on the impact of the Covid crisis on the Arts and on the limited support offered directly to individual artists, she spent time researching this topic, through conversations with a diverse group of early career artists. Thanks to Amanda Fernandez and her artist collective FerArts, who gave their time and voiced honest, insightful opinions about their situation, about 200 artists between the ages of 18 and 34 contributed to this research either via interviews, focus groups or social media.

This research identified that artists need (first and foremost!) money to allow them to live while practicing. In order to carry out research, develop new ideas, buy equipment, buy books or visit exhibitions – funding is mission critical. Other needs include having access to space to practice freely; and having somewhere to turn to, in order to receive support on business matters such as contract, IP, networking skills etc. Next, access to a network, mentoring, and short courses to hone in on a specific skill are highly valued. Last, but not least, having greater visibility: either by taking part in exhibitions, knowing how to cut through social media, or being shown in a different type of venue - any opportunity to be seen in a new context and by a varied audience, matters.

This led to the creation of ArtULTRA. In its first stage, ArtULTRA is focusing on identifying existing grants aimed directly at artists as well as studio spaces and residency programmes available to them. Free access to this resource is provided here. In time, ArtULTRA aims to become an accelerator for early career artists, providing exhibition, mentoring, networking, business insights and professional development opportunities.

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Meet the team

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Business & Product Development / Photographer

Prior to founding ArtULTRA in January 2021, Alice led the Design Museum in London for 12 years, spearheading the move of the museum from east London to Kensington. Alice is member of the Mayor of London’s Cultural Leadership Board, the British Library Advisory Committee and of the New Museum of London Project Board.

Alice graduated from ESSEC Business School and started her career in New York in the financial sector, before moving to London in 1998 and dedicating herself to a career in the cultural sector.

Paola graduated from the Urban School of Sciences Politiques Paris in 2016, working for three years as an auditor, before deciding to turn her passion for photography into a career. Today, Paola is a member of Hans Lucas, an agency dedicated to documentary photography and photojournalism. She has published two photo reportages in Benin: one with the association Gbobètô, laureate of the Yves Rocher Foundation 2021 Prize "Terre de Femmes"; the other documenting the cult of revenants in the Voodoo religion. 

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Researcher / Artist

Bea is a Cambridge University graduate and holds a Postgraduate Diploma in Art History from the Courtauld Institute of Art, for which she was awarded the 2020 Director’s Prize for her dissertation. She is currently working as a free-lance researcher, journalist and fine artist. Her artistic practice explores narrativity, dream-scenarios and solitude. As an art historian and art journalist, Beatriz is interested in contemporary British art engaging with themes of diaspora and ecology.

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Lily studied social anthropology at the University of Cambridge and is currently studying for an MSc in social and cultural psychology at the LSE. She is interested in the relationship between human psychological needs and the values and beliefs that exist within society. As a researcher, writer and filmmaker, her work explores the power of relationship, community, curiosity and psycho-education, in creating healthier individuals and societies. 

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Project Manager

Alessandra graduated from La Sapienza university in Rome, where she studied architecture and interior design. She then studied painting and sculpture, both in Rome and London. Passionate about are art and design, Alessandra currently works as an interior architect in an international design practice, while pursuing her research as a painter. Her artistic inspiration is connected with nature and animals, used as a reference to create organic abstract compositions.

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