The AKO Foundation provides grants to a range of important projects promoting the arts. This includes the funding of new art museums and collections, educational programmes, scholarships and endowments.

The Arts

SKMU Sørlandets Kunstmuseum

The SKMU Sørlandets Kunstmuseum (“SKMU”) is a regional art institution, located in Kristiansand Norway, which has collected high quality arts and crafts objects from the local area since 1995. SKMU has developed a wide range of educational activities including establishing a museum for children, The Children’s Art Museum, within its premises. The Foundation has made a number of grants to SKMU to be used for the purchase of Norwegian glass, ceramics and similar art works dating from 1930 onwards for public display.

SKMU Sørlandets Kunstmuseum


AKO Kunststiftelse

The Foundation has commenced a major initiative of support for AKO Kunststiftelse, a Norwegian non-profit foundation with an objective of advancing the public’s access to Nordic visual arts from the post 1900 period. To achieve this objective AKO Kunststiftelse is building a collection of such art for public exhibition and will give the SKMU the right to use this collection free of charge and on a perpetual basis.

It is planned that the public exhibition of the collection will be in a new museum, the Kunstsilo Museum, in Kristiansand. The establishment of this new museum is being undertaken by SKMU in cooperation with the Kristiansand municipal authorities and other Norwegian institutions and is currently in its development stages. The ultimate combined vision is to create a public art collection of international importance housed in an art museum of outstanding architectural quality.


The Courtauld Institute of Art, a college of the University of London, is the pre-eminent centre for the study of the history of art in Europe. The Foundation has endowed an academic post for the study of European art of the 20th century and particularly German Expressionism. The gift was made by the Foundation in honour of Dr Shulamith Behr, Honorary Research Fellow at The Courtauld, who taught Nicolai Tangen during his MA studies there.

Courtauld Connects is a major capital project to redevelop the The Courtauld Institute of Art. Its objectives are to increase access to The Courtauld and improve the user experience, to create the best teaching and research environment, and to preserve and reveal The Courtauld’s heritage building and collections. The Foundation has made a grant of £1,000,000 towards this project.

In December 2017, the Foundation presented its first annual AKO Curatorial Award to the winner and runners-up of a competition for graduates of the Courtauld’s MA programme Curating the Arts Museum (2016/17). The AKO Curatorial Award is the only prize available to curating MA graduates in the UK and the Foundation and Courtauld Institute of Art look forward to its continued success.

University of the Arts

The University of the Arts London (“UAL”) is Europe’s largest specialist arts and design university. It offers courses in arts, design, fashion and communication and is attended by over 19,000 students from more than 130 countries. In 2017 the Foundation made a grant for three years to facilitate UAL’s launch of a “Creative Computing Institute”. This will be a university wide centre of expertise on digital and computing matters which will input into art and design courses across UAL and generate new areas of study and practical outputs with real world applications. The Foundation has also funded bursaries at the UAL Central Saint Martins arts and design college which support promising third year students at risk of dropping out of their course for financial reasons.

University of the Arts

Zeitz MOCAA Curatorial Training Programme

Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa (“Zeitz MOCAA”) is a public, not for profit cultural institution in Cape Town, South Africa, that focuses on collecting, researching and exhibiting cutting edge contemporary art from Africa. Established in 2001, the Curatorial Training Programme offers practicing professionals and recent graduates the benefit of gaining practical curatorial experience and skills at a functioning contemporary art museum. The programme also provides individual research and dialogue with colleagues, artists, collectors and art professionals. In accordance with Zeitz MOCAA’s objective of providing access for all, candidates are financially supported through a monthly honorarium, which covers the programme costs, accommodation, local transport and food. The Foundation is making a grant to support four participants per annum through this programme.


Wigmore Hall Trust

Wigmore Hall is a leading platform in London for chamber and instrumental music, early music and song. The Foundation contributed to the Wigmore Hall Endowment Fund whose purpose is to ensure that Wigmore Hall has additional resources to invest in the development of inspirational projects, residencies and unique programmes with the world’s finest performers and ensembles.

Venice Biennale 2017

In 2017 the AKO Foundation made a donation to support the Nordic Pavilion at the Venice Biennale exhibition.

Wigmore Hall