The art world can be an intimidating place – a land of hushed galleries, record-setting auctions and, for those who brave its borders, frequent “sticker shock”. That it is considered a “world” at all suggests just how isolating it can be to some of those who live outside of it.
Paul Becker, chief executive of 10 Group and the just-launched Art Money, is seeking to change that with a new scheme that will allow people to put artworks on a kind of layby.
From today, prospective art buyers can take out an interest-free loan facilitated by Art Money for works priced from $750 to $20,000 – they put at least 10 per cent down to secure the artwork ($2000 on a $20,000 work, for example, or $75 on a $750 piece) and then pay the rest off in nine equal monthly instalments. The buyer gets to keep the work from the moment they make their first payment.
“Sticker shock is a big barrier to people buying art, engaging with art and enjoying it,” Becker says. “There is this huge up-front cost that people perceive and it’s not an issue with other industries. This is solving the issue in a transparent way – making it easier for the buyer and the gallery.”
Art Money’s loans are streamlined so as to be as simple as possible, Becker says: buyers apply for a loan online at home or at the gallery itself (you may apply for a $5000 loan before heading out to shop or do it on the spot on a gallery iPad if a work catches your eye); you then choose the artwork you want to purchase (the loan is valid at participating galleries for 30 days); and then complete your loan application in person at the gallery.
More than 25 galleries have already signed up to Art Money, which was inspired by similar government-funded schemes in Britain and the Netherlands, and by Tasmania’s COLLECT Art Purchases Scheme.