Members of the Artists' Lottery Syndicate pose with a giant cheque showing their total winnings to date (£1,309.10) at the closing party in London on Friday 1 July 2011. This sum does not include the additional winnings from the Syndicate's two final bonus draws on Friday 1 July and Saturday 2 July 2011. The total annual winnings of the Artists' Lottery Syndicate was £1,346.50. Please download the final Annual Report for more details.
The Artists' Lottery Syndicate was a forty-strong collective of UK based artists who joined forces to play The National Lottery over the course of a year, with the hope of hitting the jackpot. The Syndicate ran from 1 July 2010 - 1 July 2011. It was superseded by The Artists' Bond: established in 2011 by the members of the Syndicate who chose to reinvest their annual winnings in a new collective venture.
The Artists' Lottery Syndicate was devised by artist Ellie Harrison in 2010 as a reaction to the recession and its knock-on effect on arts funding. It aimed to be 'a speculative new scheme for acquiring funds for artists'. By utilising the element of 'luck', which plays such a central role in an artist's career, the Syndicate aimed to explore the prevalent 'winner-takes-all' market of the arts, described by Hans Abbing in his book Why Are Artists Poor?
As well as these cynical undertones, playing on the 'lucky break' aspirations of many artists, the Syndicate also had a collective spirit. Inspired by the definition of a 'syndicate' as a group of people 'joining forces', working together for a common goal, it aimed to be a social coming-together of a group of aspirational artists supporting each other into the new 'age of austerity'.
Following its launch on 1 April 2010, the Artists' Lottery Syndicate has now recruited its forty members.