I was walking through the Volta NY art fair Wednesday night and saw a sign that, where it would normally say an artist's name and the name of the gallery showing him, only said "Art Money." My first thought: that's a badass name. Second thought: wait, is that a person's name? But with no gallery? [puzzled face]
Reading my emails on Thursday morning, I saw one from the fair Art on Paper that clarified the query.
Art Money is a company that provides interest-free loans to would-be art buyers. Founded by Australian Paul Becker, Art Money partners with galleries around the United States, Australia, and New Zealand with the aim of supporting local artists and galleries and sustaining long-term local art and culture. And, of course, it also allows individuals to buy pieces that they love on a whim...even if they don't have the money just yet. Making the work of contemporary artists accessible to more of the population is very cool.
So how do you go about it? First, you apply for a loan online. You have to make at least $30,000USD annually (total from all sources, including investments), be a US resident or citizen, have clean credit, and have an account or credit card to debit. The service is only available to individuals.
When you've found a piece that you love at a participating gallery or art show, you finalize the loan application with them and pay a 10% deposit...and take the piece home immediately! You then pay the rest of the price back to Art Money in 9 monthly installments (so 10 months total, 10% each month). You own the piece with your first payment.
These loans are meant to make more expensive pieces available to the masses, so the minimum loan amount is $1,000 (and the maximum is $50,000—things to strive for!). And they care about the artwork, so you have to have it insured (homeowners insurance is fine) as part of the agreement.
What's the catch? How can they make loans interest-free? Art Money receives a discount from the gallery in lieu of the interest payments. And the gallery is able to sell more pieces with more buyers in the market. Everybody wins.
So if you're going to check out Volta, Art on Paper, or Scope New York this weekend, you might want to sign up for a loan first. [wink]
Photos above were taken at Volta NY.