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Tuesday, April 21st, 2009

Buy Art on the Government’s Dollar


The Telegraph clues us in to a UK government backed loan program which aims to fuel the art market with millions in revenue, while making the collecting game a bit more egalitarian. The Own Art program, funded by the government-run Arts Council England, hands out up to £2,000 in individual loans for the purchase of art, completely interest free and repayable over a ten month period. According to the Telegraph, 25% of those who have taken advantage have an annual income below the national average wage, and to date £6.5 million in revenue has been generated for artists.

We’ve taken a look and should clarify that the program does not apply to all galleries and includes approximately 250 participating venues across England.  The £2,000 limit may be used for a single purchase, or spread out over the acquisition of multiple works. While only one loan is permitted at any given time, there is no limit to how many times an individual may use the program. The 0% APR is subsidized by Arts Council England, which pays all interest to the lending bank instead of the customer. 

The program is also available at 38 galleries throughout Scotland, via the Scottish Arts Council and over 80 galleries in Wales via Principality Collectorplan, where it has been in operation for over 20 years.

Back in the U.S., these loan programs are worth considering, given the debate over the $50 million given to the National Endowment for the Arts via the Economic Stimulus Act. Opponents have argued there are far more crucial economic factors, including rising unemployment, to justify pumping millions of taxpayer dollars into the arts, while others have claimed the amount is far too miniscule (less than 1% of the approximately $800 billion Stimulus Act), and those in arts related professions need aid as well. Rather than residing to the Roosevelt-esque New Deal tactics employed during the Great Depression, perhaps such government backed loan programs would do more to not only fund the arts but fuel the economy at large, by promoting consumer spending and freeing up the lending capabilities of our nation’s financial institutions. 

Posted by ATARMS | Filed in Europe, Market Talk, Politics, Uncategorized

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