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Platform to connect funders with artists launches

Melanie May | 20 November 2023 | News

An artist draws on a board. By Alicia Zinn on Pexels

The International Body of Art (IBA), which helps underrepresented artists launch their careers through its public exhibitions programme, has launched a platform to enable funders to sponsor and connect with emerging artists.

It follows research from the IBA that shows that 26% of artists have had to abandon their careers in the arts due to limited financial prospects, and 29% of ethnic minority artists have seen their white peers’ careers progress further than theirs. The research also found that 35% of ethnic minority artists have had to abandon a career in the arts due to having limited financial backing.

The platform is called ‘Projects‘, and 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.


Why your supporters are wealthier than you think... Course by Catherine Miles. Background photo of two sides of a terraced street of houses.

The rewards have been created by the artists themselves, with each one tailored to their project. ‘Projects’ aims to allow early-stage art collectors to connect with promising emerging artists to break down the barriers to entry for both artists and art enthusiasts. 

April Kelly, IBA’s project manager said:

“In our artist support and exhibition curation, we always ensured that artists felt that they could be experimental, that they could take risks, and that they could be supported in creating honest, passionate, and personal works. After an early exhibition, we experienced artists thanking us for giving them this freedom – it was then that we realised how profound the problems of the art world are.


“Its rigidity does not simply affect access, but it continues to dictate from within the work of artists. The traditional market almost forces artists to keep making the same works that are instantly sellable and recognisable, so it doesn’t actually allow any room for innovation. That’s what we want to be here for.”

Screenshot of the International Body of Art's new Projects platform which connects funders with emerging artists

IBA CEO Maria Artool commented: 

“What truly sets IBA’s Projects platform apart is its focus on community. It’s not just about funding projects for the sake of it; it’s about becoming part of an extraordinarily diverse, open-minded, international, and innovative community that thinks outside the box and challenges barriers.


“While individual projects offer their own set of rewards that align with their artistic goals, the platform as a whole provides a space for art lovers and enthusiasts to actively shape the future of the art world. By selecting which projects should receive funding and be brought to life, backers are invited to play a unique role in defining the future of art. They become an integral part of the artistic process, which is a structure that is the first of its kind in the industry.”