Part of being an artist is to learn to embody the image of “starving artist” it would seem. For many, health insurance, a plan for retirement, and plentiful savings accounts just aren’t in the picture. Sure, some strike it rich with a painting or book of teen fiction, but for most, the reality is a life of quiet bill paying and not luxury. It’s difficult to plan for retirement when you’re trying to figure out how you might be paying your rent.
But all of that might be changing. Founded in 2004, the Artist Pension Trust includes over 2,000 artist across the world who have chosen to include their work in one of nine “investment funds”—which are actually pools of artwork.
Artists involved in the program receive a yearly payout from the trust, assuming that some of the art in the pool they’re in sells. They’re committed to provide twenty pieces of art over a period of twenty years, but their work finds a home and the artist is left with a more secure financial future.
Once APT has the artwork, much of it is stored across the world, where it is lent to museums and nonprofit galleries. The group believes that museums are the best place for such art, as they’re equipped to take care of it. In addition, it provides an outlet for lovers of art to view new or different talent.
There are currently around 10,000 pieces of art in the collection. When a piece sells, 40% of the profit goes to the artist, 32% into the trust, and 28% to cover the overhead.
To become a part of such a program, an artist must first apply and be put through a selection process. A team of curators selects only a few artists from the thousands that apply. Ideally, the program will grow to include a larger number of artists who want to practice their craft and secure their wealth.