Camden-based crowdfunding site ‘to save art from the wealthy’

09:45 14 March 2014

Emma Monteil, assistant curator at the Free Space Gallery in Kentish Town, and Thanos Koukoutsakis, director of Crowd4Art. Picture: Polly Hancock

Emma Monteil, assistant curator at the Free Space Gallery in Kentish Town, and Thanos Koukoutsakis, director of Crowd4Art. Picture: Polly Hancock


An innovative website helping struggling artists sell their work has turned its sights on saving an entire art gallery in Kentish Town.

Crowd4Art, an online crowdfunding venture set up in Camden in August, was launched with a mission to help stave off the threat to the arts community in a time of public spending cuts.

The website allows members of the public to join other amateur investors in buying shares of artwork or receiving unique “rewards” in exchange for donations.

With some 200 users already ­using the site, the venture has begun helping up-and-coming artists all over the world get their work ­noticed and funded.

But its founder – Dr Thanos Koukoutsakis – says his original concept has rapidly grown in ambition and the group is now hoping to help stop the Free Space Gallery in Bartholomew Road, Kentish Town, from closing.

“We started out just offering a space to sell paintings but we’ve realised it can do so much more for our arts community.

“This mission is of critical ­importance for the arts community of Camden and Kentish Town, especially in times when public spending faces cuts.

“Without help from the public, the gallery could close in the next few months.

“We hope the site will raise the money it needs and, much more than just public funding, promote the engagement between the funder and the funded.”

The Free Space Gallery is looking to raise £4,500 from art lovers to fund its operating costs.

Donations ranging from £10 to £200 will give people a range of rewards, including free tours, one-to-ones with artists and the chance to have your name printed on the building.

Curator Melissa Hardwick said the new funding platform could be a saviour.

“Our gallery was established to give under-represented artists, individuals and organisations a space and voice in an important public building,” she said.

“We are free to visitors and ­exhibitors – all workshops are open to all, and free.

“It’s important that such a wide range of social, community and physical health and art-related ­activities is allowed to flourish and to continue its development.”

Hoping to extend the site’s reach even further than artists and galleries, Dr Koukoutsakis ­believes the crowdfunding platform can shake up the “murky” world of art dealerships.

“The marketplace for high-value artwork is neither efficient nor transparent,” he said.

“Price manipulation, behind-closed-doors deals – if it was any other properly regulated market many people would be in jail. So we want to open up the art market.

“One of our big aims is to keep the UK’s art collection in the country and out of the hands of wealthy foreign collectors.

“Temporary export bans are placed on some pieces in order to give UK-based institutions or ­individuals the opportunity to raise the funds and match the overseas buyer’s offer. The amounts requested are often at the level of millions, which standard charities find difficult to raise, resulting in a number of cultural treasures being lost.

“Offering individuals a way to pool their money together could change how things currently work.

‘‘I mean, who wouldn’t want to put in £50 to own part of a Rembrandt or Monet?”

n Visit


Latest News Stories

Khayerul Miah, pictured, and his brother have joined IS in Syria

The Camden school where two Islamic State (IS) recruits were pupils has released a statement to parents.

Police cordoned off the pavement outside the Vodafone store in Finchley Road

The pavement outside a parade of shops on Finchley Road has been cordoned off after knife raiders threatened staff at a branch of Vodafone and made off with thousands of pounds worth of mobile phones.

Carl Ryan, who is charged with misconduct in a public office, outside court (Picture: Central News)

A Camden-based detective accused of hampering investigations into six sex cases made a female colleague feel “uncomfortable, alienated and isolated”, a court heard.

Patrick Fitzgerald Shaw

A woman who was subjected to repeated violent rapes by a man who threatened to kill her and post sexual images of her online has spoken out to encourage other rape victims to come forward.

48 minutes ago
Traders and Highgate Neighbourhood Forum members Jane Wiles, Rachel Allison, Louise Lewis, Allan Rapley and Emine Gokturk  launch Highgate's first live advent calendar. Picture: Nigel Sutton

For adults and children, the suspense of waiting each day to find out what is underneath the window of your advent calendar is one of the joys of the Christmas season.

The Friends of Parkland Walk has released its own set of Christmas cards, all using images of the leafy nature reserve

These tranquil, snowy scenes look as if they were photographed in the depths of the countryside, rather than in the middle of a capital city.

Save Autism Services Haringey protesters outside Haringey Civic Centre in Wood Green. Photo: Martin Ball

Families of vulnerable adults believe that dementia and autism services can still be saved – if council tax is increased.

Most read news

Property Newsletter Sign-up

Get the latest North London property news and features straight to your inbox with our regular newsletter

I am also happy to receive other emails...
Fields marked with a * are mandatory
Email Marketing by e-shot


MAC Makeup

MAC are renowned for their flawless, fabulous make up that is used worldwide by the stars. You too can have the chance to have the perfect makeup to suit your needs with £1,000 to spend on all the glam goodies you like!


You are never far from an Argos, wherever in the country you may be. They are like a magical cavern where whatever you need they seem to have it out the back behind the counter. So why not put them to the test with this great MyOffers competition to win £1000 to spend in-store.

Digital Edition

Read the Hampstead & Highgate Express e-edition today E-edition
Family Notices 24

Local business directory

Our trusted business finder