Interest-free art loan for the public aims to give artists a boost

Persconferentie lancering Kunst aan Zet, Greta Meert Galerie (Brussel) (c) Katrien Kiekens

Under the name ‘Kunst Aan Zet’ – the former art purchase-loan – the Flemish government is launching an interest-free loan to purchase contemporary art from Flemish and Brussels artists. The initiative should ensure sustainable economic growth in the visual and applied arts and strengthen the position of artists and designers.

The interest-free art loan enables individuals to purchase a work by an artist or designer who lives and works in Flanders or Brussels. The amount borrowed can go from €500 to €7000. It must be reimbursed within a maximum of two years.

A similar loan has existed for some time in the Netherlands and the UK, where it has boosted the sale of art and unique design pieces.

Removing barriers to the purchase of contemporary art

‘Kunst Aan Zet’ wants to make contemporary art – and its acquisition – more accessible. Recent research by the initiators shows that preconceived ideas among the general public erect barriers to the purchase of art. Participating galleries such as Base Alpha, Valerie Traan, De Zwarte Panter and Transit confirm the need for a joint initiative to encourage art lovers to explore the contemporary arts and to acquire works of art.

Buying a work of art should be possible for everyone, even if you’re not an expert and don’t have a big budget.SVEN GATZ, FLEMISH MINISTER FOR CULTURE

Stronger economic position of artists and gallerists

‘Kunst Aan Zet’ is an ambitious project. It wants to be more than just a fiscal instrument to stimulate the purchase of contemporary art. It will also be a platform by which to increase the visibility of contemporary art – and the activities of promotional galleries. The initiators want to use the instrument to strengthen the position of artists (and, by extension, of gallerists).

It is especially in the first 10 to 15 years of their careers that artists and designers have a low and uncertain income. An earlier study by the Flanders Arts Institute (and several partners) already pointed out the very low average income of visual artists, who, at under €15,000 a year, are among the lowest-earning artists in the Flemish cultural field.

The interest-free loan is intended to help reverse this trend and to give more artists the chance to have a liveable art practice.

I have high expectations for this initiative, which we worked on for three years.

SVEN GATZ, FLEMISH MINISTER FOR CULTURE

Pilot project starting in September 2019

The art loan is a consumer credit that is subject to the necessary (strict) regulations to protect the consumer. This means, among other things, that the lender Hefboom needs an FSMA license. That procedure is currently ongoing.

The start of the pilot project in Flanders and Brussels is planned for September of this year, in principle after the tenure of Minister Sven Gatz, who pioneered the initiative. The pilot project will work with 20 promotional galleries, spread over four cities.

About the initiators

This initiative of the Flemish government is a joint creation with Kunst in Huis, which is responsible for the coordination and promotion, and Hefboom, the organization that today already provides microcredits to cultural entrepreneurs. ‘Kunst Aan Zet’ is part of the policy on cultural entrepreneurship and additional financing for the Flemish cultural sector and is supported by the Department of Culture, Youth and Media.

F.A.I.

Flanders Arts Institute