Announcing the Arts Impact Fund's first investments

We’re pleased to announce the first three organisations to receive investment from the Arts Impact Fund – a national dance agency, an amateur dramatics group and an artists’ studio space.

The Fund brings together 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. It is the first to offer loan finance specifically to arts and cultural organisations across England for capital and non-capital projects that show a combination of social, artistic and financial return.

The Arts Impact Fund demonstrates demand for new and innovative sources of funding from organisations and follows publication of the government’s Culture White Paper, which observed that social investment can help grow the sector’s resilience and sustainability.

The first Arts Impact Fund investees are outlined below. Click on the links to read full case studies:

  • 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.

The three 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.

More than 60 organisations have already applied for the Fund, spanning theatre, visual arts and music among others sectors. We hope to support a total of 20-30 organisations and application enquiries are invited via the Arts Impact Fund website. Organisations can apply for an unsecured loan ranging from £150,000 – £600,000 with an interest rate of between 4 and 7 per cent. Recipients of the next funding round will be announced in June 2016.

Jamie Watton, CEO and Artistic Director, South East Dance says, “The Arts Impact Fund, developed by trusted partners within the arts and cultural field, provided a perfect opportunity and we are very pleased to have been selected to access this. Arts organisations are facing continuing shifts in the funding landscape so it is incredibly valuable to have a fund which helps temporarily bridge gaps in income streams for important projects like The Dance Space. This fund allows us to move full steam ahead with our plans at a crucial moment.”  

Helen Goulden, executive director at Nesta and on behalf of the Arts Impact Fund, comments: “We are hugely pleased to announce these first recipients of loans from the Arts Impact Fund. We know that social investment has proved to be successful in other sectors, such as health and energy, and we hope this unique fund can further demonstrate the role of different kinds of finance to strengthen the resilience of arts organisations.”

Arts & Culture Finance Fair

The Arts Impact Fund is hosting the Arts & Culture Finance Fair on Wednesday 4 May which will bring together providers of social investment and organisations looking to find out more during an informal day of drop-in sessions. Find out more

This blog was originally published on Read the original blog.

Image: Theo Clinkard, Of Land and Tongue, © Zoe Manders


Seva Phillips

Seva Phillips

Seva Phillips

Head of Arts & Culture Finance

Seva is responsible for Nesta's social impact investment work in the arts, culture and creative industries

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