Have you ever fallen in love with a piece of art that you couldn’t quite afford? Maybe over months it would be feasible, but not the whole sum right now. Yes? Then it sounds like the Arts Council loan scheme – “Own Art” – is the perfect answer.
Own Art allows members of the public to buy contemporary art through interest free loans of up to £2000, usually repaid in ten monthly instalments. The loans are administered by selected galleries throughout the UK and the buyer can take the work home with them straight away.
Work can be by any living artist and may be paintings, drawings, sculptures, ceramics and even jewellery, textiles and furniture. The scheme even includes commissioning work from artists you admire.
My only gripe is: why limit this to galleries? I would welcome the opportunity to sell my work on an instalment plan if that means an increased number of buyers, but much of the time I’m selling at BirdFairs, Open Studios or at galleries that have yet to sign up to the scheme, all of which are ineligible. I can’t be the only artist in that position.
I understand that working with individuals could make the system more difficult to administer and arguably more open to abuse, but there must be ways to safeguard the artist, the buyer and the Arts Council. After all, isn’t making contemporary art easier to purchase in the best interests of all of us?
Perhaps one day the organisers will broaden their scope, but in the meantime there are over 250 member galleries in England. For more details and a list of participating galleries: www.ownart.org.uk