Social impact fintech Artspay helps artists profit from its success

- August 9, 2023 2 MIN READ
ArtsPay cofounders
ArtsPay cofounders Marc Goldenfein, Alistair Webster and Lara Thoms
Impact startup ArtsPay has backed several arts organisations and artists through its new charitable wing, The ArtsPay Foundation, with a series of small grants. 

In a sign of the need and demand from the cash-starved sector, there were more than 1,200 applications for the grants program with two small arts organisations and seven artists receiving funding.

Friends Marc Goldenfein, Lara Thoms and Alistair Webster launched ArtsPay in late 2021, setting out to find a new way to support the arts, through their retail payments processing fintech.

They partnered with payments company Fiserv and local payment gateway Fat Zebra, to give their retail payments solution a social purpose. Its clients include bookstores, music stores, fashion brands, restaurants and cafes, pubs and live music venues – all chipping in to help support the arts. 

The trio built ArtsPay to be profitable from the outset with at least 50% of the profits generated from fees distributed to through the foundation.

Cofounder Alistair Webster,  said the recipients included First Nations artists, deaf and disabled artists and LGBTIQ+ artists. 

“This is a really exciting and innovative group of artists and The ArtsPay Foundation is thrilled to be able to provide support to help them develop their artistic practice,” he said.

“What’s also fantastic is that many of these artists and small organisations struggle to get funding from mainstream government and philanthropic funding sources. It’s great that the ArtsPay Foundation can fill that gap and get money where it can have an impact. As our very first grant round, we couldn’t be happier with the response from the arts community. With so many talented applicants, the most difficult part has been having to say no to many fantastic proposals. Next year, we hope to be able to support even more.” 

Among the recipients is Awesome Black, a NSW-based First Nations creative social enterprise, developing Indigenous storytelling, including the podcasts BroriginalsYarn Quest, and Fear of a Blak Planet. Alongside WA visual arts group pvi collective, the two small arts organisations each receive a $10,000 grant. 

Chloe Mills from Awesome Black said they exist to ensure the voices of First Nations artists and creativess are amplified and celebrated.

“This funding from The ArtsPay Foundation provides immediate benefit by allowing us to better serve and promote our work, and the work of our creators, while delivering on our commitment to working within First Nations communities to provide training, pathways and networks within the creative industries,” she said. 

The ArtsPay Foundation also award $5,000 grants to seven individual artists: 

  • Elyas Alavi (Vic) (Visual Arts)
  • Isla Scott (Vic) ($5,000) (Music)
  • Ellen O’Brien (NSW) (Literature)
  • Belinda Yee (NSW) (Visual Arts, Video, Installation)
  • Nicola Ingram (Tas) (Theatre)
  • Shian Law (Vic) (Dance)
  • Ansuya Nathan (SA) (Literature, Theatre)

Belinda Yee said the grant “will enable me to explore a whole new area of research and develop a new body of work. I hope to show this work in a regional or public gallery, which for me, would be a first.”

Webster said that as more businesses make the switch to ArtsPay, the pool of funding will gow to support more artists and small arts organisations.

“We look forward to working with businesses across Australia to grow a permanent, sustainable funding source that can have an impact well into the future,” he said.