Monday, 27 October 2008

Credit without the crunch?

One of the things I do for the Arts Council is chair the board of ArtCo, the trading company which runs both the Take It Away and Own Art interest free credit schemes. I never thought I'd find myself having meetings with credit providers but there you go: great art for everyone, by any means necessary. (Not that credit provision really counts as sticking it to The Man!) Although some purists have baulked, especially in the visual arts, where putting the subsidy into the customer rather than the curator/gallerist/artist has raised eyebrows, both schemes have made a real difference to many people.

Last month Take It Away combined with Oasis and NME to promote that scheme, and learning to play an instrument. Now Own Art has recently given you the opportunity to creating your own art collection on line. It's a fun diversion - it's a Sims-style design game - and you can also found out more about the scheme. As I say, this may not please purists.

You can find my own art collection on there somewhere. My real house is actually decorated mainly with books and records and the shelves to keep them on. The rest is largely maps, both literal and metaphorical.


Pete Hindle said...

I'm not a purist, but - bloomin' 'eck Mark - could you have picked a worse time to show us the friendly face of banking? No matter if the free £500 you can get for playing this game comes from the banks or the AC, it's quite a kick in the teeth when you consider the earning power of the average artist.

Mark Robinson said...

The Own Art scheme has a big impact on artists' earnings. In 2006/2007 the £250,000 Arts Council spent (mainly paying the interest on the 2800 loans made) meant £2.5 Million went to artists and galleries - with around £1.5M going directly to artists. 8 out of ten purchasers said they wouldn't have been able to buy that work without the scheme. And 9 out 10 said they were inspired to buy other works as a result.

I don't think that's a kick in the teeth for artists at all. If we have to work with banks to do it, so be it. I still keep my money in one, don't you? They haven't suddenly got worse, after all.

Pete Hindle said...

The mechanics of the Own Art scheme were not what I was referring to in my original comment; rather, I was referring to the prize money offered on the website that you linked to, and in a wider sense, the public face of banking, and the general perception of the arts (and specifically) the Arts Council.

If you have some free time, it would be nice if you could weigh in on a related discussion that some artists are having on NewcastleGraft, where people are discussing pay levels for artists in regards to residencies.