For the first time on record, luxury goods and the fine art market have outperformed the FTSE 100 and prime central London property markets over the past year.
According to the Luxury Investment Index by Knight Frank, the art market has seen a significant surge, with a 30% increase in prices, while the FTSE 100 index only climbed 5%, and prime central London property decreased by 1%.
Yet despite the art market outperforming the FTSE 100, without independent funding and support from private investors, Britain’s artists may stand a minimal chance of career success with the arts sector in the UK struggling to survive due to brutal government funding cuts.
During the pandemic, the government’s £1.6bn Culture Recovery Fund prevented a collapse of the entire art sector. Since then, current funding now sits at a mere £9.40 per pupil at state schools and in 2022, the body that decides arts funding in England cut £50m worth of grants in London in order to support organisations outside the capital.
As these cuts send the UK’s visual arts sector into crisis, The International Body of Art (IBA) – an arts company that helps launch the career of underrepresented artists through its public exhibitions programme – has launched their platform, ‘Projects‘, which now provides a vital lifeline for underrepresented creatives, allowing funders to both sponsor and connect with the artists.
With proprietary research stating that 26% of artists have had to abandon their careers in the arts due to limited financial prospects, and 29% of ethnic minority artists watching their white peers’ careers progress further than theirs, the platform facilitates an intimate connection between donors and artists who fall outside of the traditional bounds of the art institution.
Highlighting the dire need for initiatives such as this, individual grants from Arts Council England for UK artists declined by a staggering £5.2m year on year between 2008 and 2019, often with ethnic minority, working class and female artists being disproportionately affected.
Within the context of a £2.2bn industry, the art world is one of the most homogenous sectors – with stats from the Smithsonian revealing that 85% of the artists featured in permanent collections are white and 87% are men.
Serving as the antithesis to the art world’s elitism and the hazy market-driven control, IBA gives underrepresented artists a platform, both in the form of their quarterly exhibition programme and by helping artists acquire funding through their first-of-its-kind crowdfunding platform.
Backers who choose to support IBA are introduced to the inner workings of curating an exhibition and have the opportunity to collaborate and engage with the artists – offering insight into works and ideas that aren’t given adequate light in mega galleries and institutions.
To this end, IBA’s proprietary research has revealed that a staggering 35% of ethnic minority artists have had to abandon a career in the arts due to having limited financial backing, and separate reports show that just 7.9% of professionals within the creative industries come from working-class backgrounds. The barriers to entry in the art world are varied – low-paid jobs, less-than-favourable working conditions, and a culture seeped in nepotism means that many artists and art enthusiasts remain discouraged from pursuing careers in the industry.
To contribute to a project there are various options of different values, ranging from £5 to £1100. With each contribution, there are different ‘rewards’.
These can range from a signed ‘thank you’ note, to private premier invitations, 1-on-1 Q&A calls, or even an extended meditation session with an artist. Having been created by the artists themselves, each reward is tailored to its project, meaning that funders are sure to receive a reward that they love based upon which project they connect with and contribute to.
With proprietary research unveiling that almost 1-in-4 art investors (21%) are actively looking to support underrepresented artists, ‘Projects’ allows early-stage art collectors to connect with some of the country’s most promising emerging artists, with the aim of breaking down the barriers to entry for both artists and art enthusiasts.