On November 15, 2000, the Museum's owner institutions, the Bilbao City Council, Bizkaia Provincial Council and the Basque Government, (represented by the City Mayor Iñaki Azkuna, Chief Provincial Executive Josu Bergara and the Basque Government's regional Culture Minister Mª Carmen Garmendia) agreed to set up the Bilbao Fine Arts Museum Foundation with a view to promoting and developing the Bilbao Fine Arts Museum as a whole. Included in the Register of Foundations of the Basque Country in virtue of the Decree of 29 March 2001, number F-96, classified according to its expressed aims under Section 3a.
To collect, conserve and exhibit the collection of Old Master, Modern and contemporary art at the Bilbao Fine Arts Museum, to make sustained efforts to enhance and enrich it, maintain services and promote quality activities for a decisive contribution to the education of society and the projection of the cultural values of the Basque Autonomous Community.
The foundation’s governing body is the Board of Patrons, comprising representatives of the Museum’s founding institutions – the mayor/mayoress representing the City Council of Bilbao, a provincial deputy representing the Provincial Council of Bizkaia, and the regional minister of culture representing the Basque Government – in addition to other individuals or entities whose significant contributions or academic or technical knowledge of the Museum’s activities may benefit the complete achievement of its founding aim. The presidency of the Board of Patrons is annual and alternates between the three founding members.
Mr Juan Mari Aburto Rique, as Mayor of the City Council of Bilbao
Mr Unai Rementeria Maiz, as General Deputy of the Provincial Council of Bizkaia
Mr Bingen Zupiria Gorostidi, as Regional Minister of Culture and Linguistic Policy of the Basque Government
Mr Xabier Sagredo Ormaza, representing BBK Fundazioa
Mr Rafael Pardo Avellaneda, as Director of Fundación BBVA
Mr Rafael Orbegozo Guzmán, representing Iberdrola, S. A.
Mrs Maite Iturbe Mendialdua, representing Euskal Irrati Telebista
Mr Iñigo Barrenechea Lombardero, representing Diario El Correo, S. A.
Mr Javier Andrés Larrinaga, representing Editorial Iparraguirre, S. A. (Deia)
Mr Eneko Arruebarrena Elizondo, representing Metro Bilbao, S. A.
Mrs Patricia Arias Otero, representing Fundación Banco Santander
Mr Guillermo Barandiarán Olleros, representing Fundación Gondra Barandiarán
Mr Emiliano López Atxurra, representing Petronor, S.A.
In addition, the Board can agree to the appointment as Patrons of individuals or entities that make significant financial, artistic or academic contributions.
Unless otherwise stated by the Board of Patrons, the Executive Committee exercises the functions of management, decision-making, administration and representation of the Foundation, unless these functions legally and irrefutably correspond to the Board of Patrons.
The members of the Executive Committee, in representation of their founding institutions are: the minister of Culture of the Basque Government, the head of the Provincial Government of Bizkaia, and the Mayor of Bilbao; and up to three members who can be designated by the Board of Patrons to represent individuals or entities who are Patrons of the Foundation.
One of the most important organs within the Foundation is the Artistic Appraisal Commission, whose main aim it is to guide the Museum in all matters concerning the way it operates and plans its future guidelines in matters of science and exhibitions. The Commission, which was approved by the Patronage on the 9th June 2003 last on the proposal of the curator, Javier Viar, is formed by the following advisers:
The Foundation also offers individual and corporate members a number of ways to participate in the Museum.
The Friends of the Museum Bilbao Fine Arts Service came into being in 1981 to offer local society a way of participating more actively and directly in the life of the Museum.
For an annual fee, Friends of the Museum obtain a series of privileges giving preferential access to, information about and participation in the Museum's activities.