Sunday, 19 November 2017 Sydney
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Sydney art loan startup goes global::

A City of Sydney-backed program designed to help local residents buy artworks has become an international success in just two years, with hundreds of people across Australia, New Zealand and the United States buying works worth over $5 million.

More than 1,000 artworks have been sold through Art Money since its launch in 2015, with the interest-free loan program now available in 350 galleries worldwide.

Ninety-six per cent of Art Money customers said the program influenced their decision to buy an artwork, while one-quarter of customers were first-time buyers.

Lord Mayor Clover Moore said the program had allowed hundreds of people to buy art for their homes while also supporting local artists and galleries.

“Art Money is a landmark program that makes art accessible to people from all walks of life. It encourages more people to buy art for the first time, exposes local artists to wider audiences and potential sales, and provides a welcome boost for local galleries,” the Lord Mayor said.

“I’m proud to see how the program has grown in just two years, from a startup working with a handful of galleries in inner Sydney to an internationally renowned model offered everywhere from Auckland to New York.

“The City’s support for Art Money is just one example of our ongoing commitment to ensuring that opportunities to engage in Sydney’s rich cultural life are available to everyone in our community.”

Art Money was launched by Sydney-based art engagement company 10 Group in April 2015 with $60,000 seed funding from the City of Sydney.

Under the program, prospective buyers can apply for an interest-free loan of between $675 and $50,000 to purchase artwork from participating galleries.

The approval process is completed within minutes, and after paying a 10 per cent deposit, the buyer can take their artwork home on the same day. The remaining balance is paid over the next nine months, interest-free.

No Art Money loans have defaulted to date.

Darlinghurst resident Nathan White used Art Money to purchase Sydney artist Annalisa Ferraris’s painting Party’s Over from China Heights gallery in Surry Hills.

“I’ve always wanted to purchase art for my home and support local artists, but I’ve recently changed careers, so it would be risky for me to invest a large sum of money all in one go,” Nathan said.

“When a friend told me about a new program offering interest-free art loans, I thought there must be a catch – but the more I learnt, the more comfortable I felt about being able to buy art without busting my budget.

“The process was so easy to complete – a few clicks online, and the painting was mine. I will definitely use Art Money again, and I’ve already spread the word to my friends and encouraged them to use it too.

“It also makes it more special for me, knowing I’m doing my bit to support local artists and galleries.”

Sydney-based artist Nadia Hernandez has benefited from Art Money as both a buyer and an artist.

“I first discovered Art Money last year when I fell in love with a Trent Whitehead sculpture from his first solo exhibition at Chalk Horse Gallery. For the first time, I had the ability to buy a work of art,” Nadia said.

“Art Money has in turn provided that same benefit to my work. It has helped friends and peers purchase my art through interest-free loans, allowing for a more prosperous art economy and access for younger collectors.”

Ralph Hobbs, co-founder and director of Nanda\Hobbs Contemporary, a commercial gallery in the city centre, said Art Money provides a great service for art collectors looking to build their collection.

“Art Money allows collectors to acquire more significant and multiple works they are interested in – artwork that may well have been beyond their reach previously,” Mr Hobbs said.

“From an artist and gallery perspective, the prompt payment system and minimising of payment schedules have been great for keeping the wheels of culture turning.

“Art Money is becoming an important, and indeed integral factor, in the growth of the Australian market.”

Over the last two years:

  • Art Money has seen more than $2 million spent in galleries in the City’s local area
  • 90 per cent of galleries in the City of Sydney local area offer Art Money
  • the average artwork purchase is $5,000
  • 20 per cent of Art Money customers are repeat buyers.