Belfast Telegraph

Council scheme 'lends a hand' to wannabe art buyers

By Clare Weir

A lending scheme to support the Northern Ireland arts sector has been launched at a Belfast gallery.

The new Arts Council-supported 'Own Art' scheme will allow collectors to borrow any amount between £100 and £2,000 to buy art by living artists. It was initially introduced in England and Wales and has now been rolled out in Northern Ireland.

Buyers can finance a purchase of art, interest free, over 10 months. Loans can be used to buy contemporary art and craft of any kind in any media.

To launch the initiative, all works in the Emer Gallery's latest exhibition are available for purchase via Own Art.

The exhibition, which is the first of drawings by renowned artist Noel Murphy, opens today at the Antrim Road venue.

Gallery manager Eimear Flanagan said that works by local artists are now affordable for growing numbers of people.

"The scheme allows people to finance the purchase of art by living artists over 10 months and this is the first dedicated exhibition of its kind in Ireland to offer the scheme," she said.

"Noel's works are among the finest of his generation and this scheme means they can be enjoyed by all. The works are testament to the talent and expertise of Noel.

"What's more interesting is that the exhibition, with over 200 works, charts his growth and development to become one of Ireland's finest artists."

The exhibition will run until the end of March.