Arts & Culture Finance announces its latest investment round, with nearly £1 million invested across five innovative organisations.
A record label working in prisons. A festival of late night culture. A state-of-the-art music venue. A community cafe putting creativity at the centre of the high-street. A one-of-a-kind storytelling museum.
These are the latest creative enterprises to have taken advantage of social investment from Nesta’s Arts & Culture Finance team to expand their activities and become more resilient. More specifically, they are:
That’s just £10,000 short of a £1 million total - and it brings our total lending to £8.5 million since early 2016.
Two things jump out at me from this investment announcement. Firstly, the boundary-pushing nature of these organisations. Whilst not a prerequisite of our lending, it is interesting that they’re all doing something new. There hasn’t been anything quite like InHouse Records working directly with prisons to bring a different kind of rehabilitation offer to individuals wanting to turn their lives around. Culture24’s Emerge Festival builds on a recently established idea - museum lates - and turns this into a weekend festival fused with more contemporary culture. And ArtFix is disrupting the homogeneous high-street by letting up-and-coming local artists work live in its coffee shops and allowing community groups to take centre stage.
The second thing is the variety of business models being used within this small sample to repay the loan. These organisations generate their income from government agencies (i.e. prisons, for InHouse Records), box-office sales, established philanthropic funders and the coffee-loving, connection-craving suburban public. From this observation, two insights come to mind:
It’s been a while since the last investment announcement from our team. Back in October 2018 we launched the Cultural Impact Development Fund, which provides small-scale (£25,000-£150,000) loans to arts, culture and creative social enterprises alongside dedicated support around social impact monitoring & evaluation. More recently, we’ve held our second annual Portfolio Day - an opportunity for our investees to meet each other and learn from different experiences across the sector. Throughout the last 12 months we’ve continued to develop the successor to the Arts Impact Fund and have toured the country promoting the opportunities inherent within social investment to arts & culture organisations of all kinds. And, of course, we’ve been busy with our day to day work - finding, appraising and developing investment proposals for arts organisations that make such a big difference in our communities.
We publish full case studies of all of our investments on the Arts & Culture Finance website. If you’re interested in seeing how social investment can be used or are just curious to learn more about what happens in the arts & culture sector, please take a look.