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Eight arts organisations take a share of £2.4m Art Impact Fund third round

Nutcracker Birmingham
Eight arts organisations take a share of £2.4m Art Impact Fund third round

The Impact Fund has selected eight organisations to share a £2.4 million investment.

The Arts Impact Fund is a £7 million initiative to demonstrate the potential of social investment as an additional way of supporting enterprising organisations in the arts and cultural sector. Following this round, the Arts Impact Fund has now committed £5.4 million to 16 organisations since 2015. While terms vary, interest rates can be expected to range from 4-7 per cent per annum with a loan duration of between three and five years.

The Arts Impact Fund mixes public, private and philanthropic investment, from Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, Nesta and Arts Council England with additional funding from Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation.

As well as helping financially resilient organisations to grow, the Fund also aims to recognise, bolster and communicate the social value created by the arts, including the positive impact it can have on the welfare and cohesion of local communities.

The new Arts Impact Fund investees are:

  • Birmingham Royal Ballet (£215,000) – to help diversify income streams, its production of The Nutcracker will be adapted for future arena and other large-scale venue tours.
  • Fuse Art Space (£150,000) – to launch pioneering residential arts training programme taught by world-class arts practitioners.
  • Make it Sustainable (£300,000) – to invest in preserving an industrial heritage building, The Old Print Works in Birmingham; creating opportunities for creative community engagement in a deprived area of the city.
  • MeWe360 (£150,000) – to create a new, long-term workspace and mentoring development hub for Black, Asian, and minority ethnic creative entrepreneurs in Soho.
  • Studio Wayne McGregor (£500,000) – to complete the construction of a new studio space for the choreographer and his dance company; making it the first cultural organisation in the Olympic Park.
  • Walk the Plank (£170,000) – to enable this UK outdoor arts organisation to create, and relocate to, a new outdoor arts creative hub in Salford; contributing to local regeneration and strengthening the area’s cultural infrastructure.
  • Village Underground (£600,000) – for this iconic London music venue to acquire new, larger multi-arts venue in Hackney and partner with an arts charity, Community Music, to deliver social programmes.
  • V22 London (£300,000) – to acquire a listed heritage building in Orpington and create new affordable artist studios; refurbishing it for the benefit of creatives and local community.

The organisations will document their artistic, social and financial impact quarterly for the duration of their loans, with the Fund sharing the findings from all of the investees. As a demonstration fund, there is the potential for the model to be scaled or replicated in other sectors.

Andrea Sullivan, international head of Environment, Social and Governance at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, said:

“Maintaining a vibrant arts sector is critical to the social and economic development of our communities, and with traditional funding sources constrained, the Arts Impact Fund offers an innovative financial solution with tremendous potential for scale. We are delighted to be involved in this initiative, offering not only financial support but also experience of impact investing which is helping to create sustainable change in communities globally.”

The next round of funding is expected to be announced in January 2018. Information on eligibility and how to apply for a loan is available on the Arts Impact Fund site.

Main picture: The Nutcracker, Birmingham Royal Ballet. Photo: Bill Cooper

Melanie May is a journalist and copywriter specialising in writing both for and about the charity and marketing services sectors since 2001. She can be reached via www.thepurplepim.com.

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