One winner deemed in the eyes of the judges to show exceptional imagination, innovation and achievement will receive £100,000.
The other shortlisted contenders are Bethlem Museum of the Mind, Kent; Jupiter Artland, West Lothian; Victoria and Albert Museum, London; and York Art Gallery.
Brunel’s ss Great Britain won the prestigious prize in 2006.
Arnolfini CEO Kate Brindley said: “We are delighted to be nominated as a finalist for Art Fund Museum of the Year and incredibly proud to have the hard work of our team, the talent of our artists and the quality of our partnerships recognised by this important national programme.
“Most of all, we are grateful to the people of Bristol for supporting us and inspiring us in our mission to create spaces where the culturally curious can come together and participate in contemporary arts and culture.
“This award is a major boost for the organisation following a year of ambitious transformation at Arnolfini, and also for the city as a whole as we gear up to collaborate with Bristol’s cultural community to make the case to bid for European Capital of Culture.
“The Art Fund recognition has been a gift for Arnolfini and for Bristol.”
The Arnolfini last year celebrated 40 years since moving to the harbourside, helping to regenerate the area.
A new commissioned public artwork by internationally-renowned artist Richard Long, Boyhood Line on the Downs (below), brought his work to a wider audience.
The gallery also secured a national tour of John Akomfrah’s Vertigo Sea, and launched the exhibition’s UK premiere in Bristol to widespread critical acclaim, as well as entering into a new partnership with UWE including sharing space with degree students, studios, academics and the Centre for Moving Image Research.
The judges for Museum of the Year 2016 are Gus Casely-Hayford, curator and art historian; Will Gompertz, BBC arts editor; Ludmilla Jordanova, professor of history and visual culture, Durham University; Cornelia Parker, artist; and judging panel chair Stephen Deuchar, director of Art Fund.
The Arnolfini will celebrate their nomination with a citywide campaign, using the hashtag #InspiredbyBristol to invite the public to participate in and contribute their own cultural experiences of the city.
Main photo by Polly Braden
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