Artist Match Grant Savings Account
Artists are often risk-averse in financial matters, especially if they lack monetary resources to absorb potential setbacks. Through negative reinforcement, many have come to believe that life as a creative artist is incompatible with financial independence. Few recognize that taking prudent risks is as vital in wealth-building as it is in making art. As a result, even hard-working, talented and productive artists often fail to accumulate savings or reach their financial potential.
To address this dilemma, ArtHome is partnering with Assets for Artists, an artist-focused IDA/matched savings and financial/professional development program currently serving low-income artist-entrepreneurs in the Berkshires, with plans to expand across Massachusetts and beyond.
Our program is built around an economic development tool known as the IDA -- a matched savings account -- inspired by the employer model of matched savings for retirement in 401k plans, but applying that successful model to low-income people who are rarely able to participate in 401k programs, and who need to make more immediate investments in education or entrepreneurship to reach financial independence. The IDA is a vehicle for prudent, risk-reduced investments allowing low-income artists to build assets for the future.
We believe unique value accrues from a blended training and capital access program.
Training programs have much deeper impacts when delivered in the context of planning for specific investments, allowing newly acquired knowledge to be immediately applied to a real-world opportunity, thus magnifying comprehension and retention of the material.
The modest capital provided through an IDA can do more to transform an artist’s financial life than even the largest conventional grants. Because the IDA carries a built-in obligation for the artist to develop long-term plans and save and invest their own funds alongside the match funds, the artist becomes a participant rather than a recipient. IDA participants apply financial training and professional development lessons to their own hard-earned savings to leverage the match funds, assuring that investments are made with great care for maximum impact.
This program was launched with support from the Massachusetts Cultural Council in 2007 and operates as a partnership between MASS MoCA (the largest contemporary arts center in the country), the Midas Collaborative (one of the nation’s leading matched savings networks), ArtHome, the Massachusetts Small Business Development Center Network, and various local arts and community development organizations in Massachusetts.