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Siubhán Macauley, who studied music in the city before going on to work in fund-raising for the Philharmonic, has launched Art Collection Liverpool.
The idea is to bring together 500 members who each put £1 in a ‘pot’ every week. They then nominate individuals and decide where the money will go, whether it’s to buy materials or equipment or to cover a bill.
Siubhán explains: “I’d seen the 500 model of giving talked about quite a lot since lockdown started, so I thought I could apply it to the artistic and creative community in Liverpool.
“I’m a huge fan of arts and culture, I’m also a fundraiser, and I was looking around at the amount of people whose income has been lost as a result of the pandemic, and all the art and creative things that can’t be made because of that.
“I’m also really aware of all the art that isn’t getting made because access to funding can be very tricky for solo artists, especially as funding applications are long and complicated a lot of the time, and often with strings attached. I intend this fund to be a no-strings grant that the artist can use in whichever way allows them to create – whether that is for supplies, or just paying a bill for peace of mind.”
She says where the money goes will be entirely in the hands of the group members. “It’s not my decision who gets the money, members will nominate artists living or working in the Liverpool area and then those nominations will go out to a poll via email and they can vote to decide so it’s a collective process.
“If I’m asking people to give their pounds then I think they need to have a say about not just who’s being nominated but who’s actually getting the money as well.
“Once we’ve built up the number of members, I plan to ask a couple of local artists to sit on a committee to oversee everything, so it’s all clearly accountable.”
Art Collection Liverpool has only just launched, but 25-year-old Siubhán says as soon as it has its first 500 members giving £1 each week, it will be able to grant £500 a week to a Liverpool artist.
“Imagine the difference that could make to someone. It could alleviate some financial worry, pay the heating bill for a freezing studio, or buy some new materials or equipment to refresh their practise.
“And to donate is only £1 a week, or £4 a month, which is like buying a bag of chocolate so hopefully it’s easily do-able for most people. It’s not a huge ask and members will get to see exactly where their money is going. They’ll see that their £1 is part of that £500 that went to a particular artist, so they’ll get that sense of connection and feel a part of whatever the artist is doing.”
Siubhán says lockdown seems like the perfect time to start Art Collection Liverpool although she does have plans to keep running the fund beyond Covid,
“I hope it will be a good start to try and provide a little bit of financial support to the artists, creatives and community run creative groups that especially need a boost at this time,” she adds.
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