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Loan plan to help SA creatives


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Guildhouse has launched a campaign to raise $50,000 for interest-free loans to help South Australian visual artists, craftspeople and designers.

Dubbed 50 for 50: Double the Love, the funding drive kicked off at event last night at Peel St with television and radio host Fenella Kernebone as guest speaker.

Guildhouse executive director Rae O’Connell says it aims to reach its target by May 29, with money raised to be matched dollar for dollar by government agency Creative Partnerships Australia.

“Often it’s very difficult for artists to get ease of access to finance to fund unique things as they arise,” she says.

“It may not be a lot that they need to borrow, but it’s not always easy to access funds in a short space of time.”

50 for 50 coincides with the upcoming 50th anniversary of Guildhouse, which began life as the Craft Association of South Australia and now provides support for artists, craftspeople and designers through mentoring, workshops, professional development opportunities and events.

O’Connell says the fact that artists and designers often have an irregular income is one of the main hurdles in accessing loans from financial institutions.

While they can apply for grants through various state and federal government funding programs, these often take a long time to be assessed and approved.

“It’s also very competitive, and when you apply to the Australia Council you are applying with your peers nationally, so there’s a bigger pool [of applicants],” O’Connell says.

Guildhouse plans to offer interest-free loans of up the $5000 at a time, with the intention that the amount be repaid within 12 months so that it can then be available for other applicants.

50 for 50 : : Margaret Hancock-Davies, JamFactory from Guildhouse on Vimeo.

Jam Factory curator Margaret Hancock-Davies, glass artist Deb Jones, boutique furniture designer and Wholegrain Studio founder Josh McCallum, and painter Dan Mansuitti are among a number of creative professionals who feature in short videos explaining how a such loan might be used.

They say the funds could be put towards mounting a solo exhibition, paying for professional photography, buying new equipment, improving studio space, or taking designs from prototype stage to retail standard.

To help reach the total 50 for 50 target, Guildhouse has also launched a Pozible crowdfunding campaign.

O’Connell says a small investment can make a big difference to an artist, craftsperson or designer; it could even be a “genuine life-changer”.

“The arts bring another element to our lives and we need to invest both publicly and privately in the arts.

“They enhance our cultural lives, they shape our personalities and identities and our sense of place … in the best circumstances, they can also challenge people.”

More information about 50 for 50: Double the Love can be found on The Guildhouse website.

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