Some Parts of Arts Industry Got Multimillions in PPP Loans

  • July 07, 2020 17:14

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Kanye West at Coachella, 2011. West's Yeezy brand was awarded a PPP loan.
"Kanye Coachella 2011 2" by vonlohmann", Licens...

A slice of the $521 billion in government economic relief meant for small businesses in the U.S. during the coronavirus pandemic went to an array of museums, art galleries, auction houses, art media, institutions, foundations, artists and others.

A list of loans of $150,000 and above was made public on Monday after Democrats pushed for more transparency with the process. The Treasury Department did not include exact amounts received by companies, providing five ranges, and the amount requested was not disclosed. (Some companies that were awarded money later returned funds.)

While the funding initially ran out (and a third round of loans is ahead), the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) was made available to companies with fewer than 500 employees, with the loans largely written off by the government if companies spent the money on eligible costs and retained a certain percentage of staff during the pandemic. 

Since March, pandemic closures have caused steep layoffs and furloughs across the arts industry, especially affecting employees at museums and galleries, including some listed for PPP loans, such as the Whitney, SFMOMA, Philadelphia Museum of Art, Gagosian, David Zwirner, art collective Meow Wolf and others. 

A handful of the country's largest museums were allotted between $5 and $10 million, including the Whitney and the Guggenheim in New York, and the Huntington, LACMA and SFMOMA in California, among a few others. 

German-owned, New York-based art website Artnet Worldwide Corporations, as well as the studio of pop artist Jeff Koons—whose $91 million Rabbit was bought last year by art dealer Robert E. Mnuchin (father of Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin)were awarded between $1 million and $2 million.

Billionaire Trump supporter, art patron, artist and rapper Kanye West's Yeezy apparel brand (recently partnered with the Gap) received as much as $5 million from the PPP, according to the SBA.
The majority of the listed galleries received loans between $150,000 and $350,000.
View PPP data from the U.S. Small Businsess Administration website here. See partial lists of arts recipients compiled by ARTnews and Hyperallergic.


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