City of Sydney’s Art Money Scheme Makes First Loans

Gallerist Joanna Strumpf, left, and Art Money CEPO Paul Becker, right.
Photo: Dallas Kilponen.

After a wait of several months, Sydney now has an interest-free loan scheme for art buyers. (See artnet News’ report Sydney Launches Interest-free Scheme to Buy Art.)

Backed by the publishing and events company 10 Group, Art Money provides 10-month loans from AUD$750–$20,000 ($570–15,200).

Barry Keldoulis, the chair of Australia’s National Association for the Visual Arts and director of the Sydney Contemporary Art Fair, is a supporter of the scheme. He says that while there is a wide range of grants and prizes available to artists in Australia, they only provide sporadic support. He hopes that Art Money will encourage sales and provide artists with a more regular source of income.

Keldoulis was also one of the first to buy a work through Art Money, purchasing a small Tim Silver sculpture from Sullivan+Strumpf. It was one of a small handful of loans brokered by the scheme on its first day of operation.

Twenty-six galleries now offer the Art Money loans. This is almost double the take-up anticipated by 10 Group CEO and Art Money founder Paul Becker.

They include galleries at all ends of the market, from established spaces like Olsen Irwin, Darren Knight Gallery, Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery, Sullivan+Strumpf, and Jensen Gallery, to spaces with younger stables like Galerie Pompom and Gallery 9.

One of the most attractive features for galleries is that they are paid in full (less a small fee) within 10 days of a sale and Art Money assumes all risk for the loan.

However, the scheme is currently only operating in a small area of the city. The City of Sydney, the council area responsible for the central business district, has been heavily involved in launching Art Money and has provided AUD$60,000 ($45,600) in start-up funding. The participating galleries are all in this council area or neighboring suburbs.

But Keldoulis believes that the scheme has the “capacity to grow and support the nation.” Becker has also previously said he believes the model is financially self-sustaining and there is potential for Art Money to expand.

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