THE WORD Own Art - who owns it?
Gallerist Ann Petherick calls time on her participation in the Own Art scheme, aimed at encouraging artlovers to buy art in easy payments
Own Art was a brilliant idea. It still is, in theory. I should know, my gallery has been part of it since day one - and was even part of the predecessor scheme in Yorkshire, Art Loan.
I could even claim some credit for the setting up of Art Loan in the 1990s, having spent previous years assiduously posting leaflets about the similar schemes in other parts of the country to the director of Yorkshire Arts, until he capitulated.
Own Art benefitted artists, buyers and galleries in equal measure and has given immense support to living artists. I have supported and promoted the scheme from the outset, and have sold several hundred paintings to purchasers at varying income levels, many having made multiple purchases and helped to support young artists in developing up their careers.
But in recent years it appears that the scheme had gone off the rails. Despite becoming a Community Interest Company it appeared to be run for the benefit of its employees rather than any “community”.
There were regular and confusing changes of name and/or responsibility, the poor handling of the debacle over the new Financial Conduct Authority rules, publicity which was both amateur and inappropriate, a website which was a shambles, the inclusion of galleries showing poor work, the inclusion of galleries showing largely giclée prints (and using the scheme to sell them), the inclusion of public galleries offering mainly unsaleable work, the extension of the scheme to work costing £25,000 against all its earlier principles, and the palatial central London offices.
All caused me to question my membership and now there is the final straw: an annual fee of - "initially" - £300 in addition to the percentage charged on sales. Enough is enough.
Ann Petherick owns the Kentmere House Gallery in York, http://www.kentmerehouse.co.uk