art, Buzz, startup, Startup Aus, Startup Culture, Startups

New startup lets you take out interest-free loans to buy art on the spot

Ever been to an art exhibition, spied something you like, wanted to snap it up immediately, but didn’t have the coin? Don’t ask your bank, ask Art Money.

Launched in 2015, Australian startup Art Money is designed to help regular folks buy art on the spot in local galleries — and now it’s going worldwide. Started with a handful of Sydney galleries by 10 Group, Art Money is now available in 350 galleries worldwide, from Auckland to Singapore to New York. 

Art Money has sold more than 1,000 artworks through its interest-free loan program — and one quarter of customers were first-time art buyers. The team says they’ve seen more than $2 million spent in Sydney galleries with their program — and now, 90 percent of galleries in inner city Sydney offer Art Money.

The program allows prospective buyers to apply for a loan online between $675 and $50,000 to buy pieces from participating galleries — and have their loan approved or denied within minutes. 

Once you get the green light, you’ll pay a 10 percent deposit, then you can take home your brand new artwork on the very same day. Then, all you have to do is pay off your interest-free balance over the next nine months. The average fee paid for a work using Art Money is $5,000 — and the team says that no loans have faulted to date.

Lucrative galleries mean local government interest, so the project was initially backed by the City of Sydney, who seed funded $60,000 to Art Money.

“Art Money is a landmark program that makes art accessible to people from all walks of life,” says Sydney’s Lord Mayor Clover Moore. “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.”

Art startups with an aim to make art more accessible have been attempting to remove the hoity-toity stigma around the art industry for years. New York startup Artsy connects art enthusiasts with leading galleries and their works, while influential financial tech company Arthena aims to make art investment more transparent.

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