Repayable loan finance for social investment in arts organisations.
Regulated charitable arts organisations based in England, working in a specified area of social need.
The fund is open permanently.
About the fund
We want to invest for artistic, social and financial return in the arts sector. The Arts Impact Fund will help us do this, working with arts organisations who can demonstrate they are sustainable, have great artistic ambition and have a positive impact on society.
About the investment
Repayable loan finance between £150,000 and £600,000 is available to arts organisations. Funding needs can vary – for example, an applicant may want to buy or refurbish a building, purchase equipment, pay salaries or buy-in additional services to help the organisation generate more income – perhaps for a tour or exhibition.
The fund is created and funded by Bank of America Merrill Lynch, the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation and Nesta. It’s supported by the Arts Council with additional funding from the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation.
Why we think this is important
As part of our work to increase the resilience of art and culture in England, we want to support organisations in exploring alternative sources of non-grant income. We are building our knowledge and understanding of how social investment could best support the sector.
Before launching the Arts Impact Fund, we engaged in some scoping work with Social Finance and the Arts Ventures group, along with a preparatory investment in the Investment and Contract Readiness Fund managed by Social Investment.
How to apply
All applications to the Arts Impact Fund can be made through the fund’s website.
Before you apply, make sure you meet the eligibility criteria. The initial criteria, found in more detail on the Arts Impact Fund website, is as follows.
You must be:
- an organisation with primary activity in the arts
- a regulated body with a charitable purpose
- registered as operating in England
- working in at least one area of social need that the fund supports
FAQs and guidance
The Arts Impact Fund website contains FAQs and guidance that you should read in full before making an application.
Over £3 million has been invested so far:
- South East Dance - £350,000: The Brighton based dance agency will use the loan to bridge fundraising and allow work to start on its new hub The Dance Space. The new building will provide a rental income from its studio and office space, reducing the need for public funding and supporting its work with local artists and community development programme.
- Titchfield Festival Theatre - £150,000: Run by volunteers the theatre group will use the funding to repair and improve the functionality of one of its two venues to grow its rental income and allow it to install solar panels. Excess energy will be sold back to the grid. The improvements will support the group’s theatre education programme and free ticketing to local schools.
- Bow Arts Trust - £600,000: A London based organisation providing affordable studio space for artists and education programmes in local schools will use a loan from the Fund to purchase and develop property on its own balance sheet. The committee approved the offer of a credit facility to Bow Arts, allowing the organisation to approach property development opportunities with financing already in place.
- Autograph Media - £150,000: to set up a new commercial image licensing business specialising in race and cultural diversity. Autograph Media is the trading subsidiary of the visual arts charity, Autograph ABP, based in Shoreditch.
- London School of Mosaics - £600,000: to fund a property refurbishment in Lewisham to create a venue for a new mosaic focused education programme.
- Live Theatre - £600,000: to launch a new commercial hospitality venture, making use of its capital assets to subsidise the work of the theatre in Newcastle.
- Second Floor Studio and Arts - £280,000: to buy and develop new artists' studios – called The Deptford Foundry – in South East London.
- Soho Theatre - £300,000: to set up a new digital content subsidiary that will film comedy content and licence it to broadcasters, digital platforms and distributors, creating new opportunities for artists and reaching new audiences.