The current art scene depicts a constant decrease in public and private financing for contemporary art, with artists and art institutions struggling to find resources to produce their works and support their activities. Fewer resources dedicated to culture mean fewer offerings of art and surely a lower qualitative level of it, thereby causing a significant frustration to all art lovers, who are in constant growth.
Contrary to Winston Churchill’s orientation, who when asked to cut arts funding in favour of the war effort replied: “then, what we are fighting for?”, nowadays governments make fewer and fewer stable investments in cultural projects. In the UK since 2010, the Department for Culture, Media and Sports (DCMS) cut approximately 30% of the money allocated to the Arts Council. The consequence of this situation is that anyone working with art today has to diversify their funding sources and seek innovative ways of funding.
Since its earliest years, art has been supported by patronage, originally financial and material support that kings, popes and the wealthy provided to artists in order to endorse their personal social positions and prestige. Patronage has been working and evolving for hundreds of years in many different forms, the most recent of which is the corporate sponsorship, a depersonalised version based mainly on marketing aims. Companies decide how to invest their money, taking into consideration the strength of the marketing action and the budget at their disposal. These are reasons far from the passion-driver which guides the art-lovers.
In this scenario, we asked ourselves: can the art-public help, even if art-lovers’ wallets aren’t often rich enough to make them proper art-patrons? So, how can the crowd facilitate the art-funding? Rhetorical question: of course through crowdfunding!
From our point of view, crowdfunding is contemporary art-patronage and the most democratic way to be part of art and to make it happen. On BeArt it is possible to support projects starting from as little as a 2 Euro donation. In traditional art-patronage, patrons were honoured with artworks exclusively produced by their protected artists, while crowd-patrons receive an exclusive reward in exchange of the pledge, which can vary from artworks to special experiences, proportional to the size of their donation.
Nowadays, crowdfunding is so cool and fashionable and some define it as “the new black”. This is not the reason why we decided to kick-start BeArt. We decided to do it because we strongly believe it will work. In a world where art funding is in constant decline, BeArt stands as a sole referee for a new model of fundraising – innovative, web-oriented and social media friendly. On the one hand, BeArt provides artists, galleries, institutions and professionals a new and efficient tool to raise funds autonomously and to be financially independent. On the other, BeArt allows its supporters not only to be an integral part of the creative process, but also to support a project through the on-line purchase of exclusive rewards otherwise unavailable elsewhere. Whether these are material, like catalogues, limited editions, artist’s proofs, unique pieces of art, or non- material, like studio visits, vernissage special invitations or guided visits.
Crowdfunding is the contemporary way to patronise art and, as art history taught us, patronage is the most effective way to ensure funds for art.
Of course, another of BeArt’s selling points is the current market in the on-line crowdfunding sector, which has experienced exponential growth: in 2014 16 million dollars were collected thanks to crowdfunding. This represented a 167% increase compared to the previous year, and forecasts call for a doubling of global fundraising before the end of 2015. Nevertheless, there are many generic crowdfunding platforms but not one that is exclusively focused on contemporary art such as BeArt (except for those dedicated only to not-for-profit projects).
Being vertical in this business works because BeArt can provide a tailor-made platform and a curatorial selection and tutoring of the projects on it. Our team of curators evaluates every project– to be uploaded on the platform for free – ensuring its reliability, economic viability and accuracy. In addition to this, BeArt assists the creators in every step of the process by supporting them in the establishment of goals, timings and rewards as well as in the communication and monitoring of the entire campaign, from beginning to end. The BeArt team includes professionals from the art world as well as from the communication, economic and financial fields, thus ensuring a full and efficient service.
Simple and direct, crowdfunding allows BeArt to engage its community – followers, fans and supporters – in the financing of new projects and ideas by offering unique rewards like exclusive goods and services in exchange. This is why BeArt’s ambition is to develop an art community where every kind of art professionals could e-meet art lovers and vice versa. BeArt also plans to become a place where art lovers can fund art projects, buy exclusive artworks or experiences, support talents or institutions or just get updates about the current trends of the contemporary art world.
The projects that are currently live on our platform represent the heterogeneity of potential creators in the contemporary art field. On BeArt one can find talented emerging artists and prominent ones represented by galleries, art institutions, museums, art foundations and organisations. All of them have a project, which can vary from producing an artwork or an exhibition to supporting institutional activity or an art award.
BeArt’s challenge is to kick-start a proper revolution in the contemporary art world, where artists can involve their supporters in their projects and art lovers can easily be part of the creation process, becoming collectors of exclusive and unique rewards which are exclusively on BeArt.
BeArt was presented in conjunction with Frieze Art Fair in London and has been live from 16th October 2015.
Beartonline Ltd is an English company based in London with offices also in Milan
Founded in 2015 by Jessica Tanghetti, Mauro Mattei and Giorgio Bartoli.
Jessica Tanghetti lives between London and Milan. Graduated in Management, she is a Public Chartered Accountant and Teaching Assistant in Management at University of Brescia, where she is reading a PhD in Business and Law, with a research focus on the relationships between art and business and corporate investments in the arts. At the same time, she is co-founder and project manager of BeArtonline Ltd. She is an art collector, and above all, a true art lover.