Global Support of the Arts

Bank of America Merrill Lynch’s program of arts support reflects our belief that the arts matter. They help economies to thrive and individuals to connect with each other across cultures, and they educate and enrich societies. Our commitment to the arts is a key element of our global ESG program. Around the world, we support nonprofit arts institutions that deliver both the visual and performing arts, provide inspirational and educational sustenance, anchor communities, create jobs, complement school curricula and generate substantial revenue for local businesses. On a global scale, the arts speak to us in a universal language that provides pathways to greater cultural understanding. To learn more about our programs, visit

Pioneering investment fund brings social finance to the arts

In 2015, a £7million Arts Impact Fund was launched, which brought together public, private and philanthropic investment. Created and funded by Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, Nesta and Arts Council England with additional funding from Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, the fund was created to demonstrate the significant social value created by arts organizations and to support their work through loan finance. This was the first impact investment fund specifically for the arts and cultural sector anywhere in the world.

Designed to help grow financially resilient organizations, the fund aims to recognize, bolster and articulate the social value created by the arts, including the positive impact it can have on the welfare and cohesion of local communities. In 2017, eight enterprising arts organizations shared a £2 million investment to fund sustainable business plans.

“Maintaining a vibrant arts sector is critical to the social and economic development of our communities, and with traditional funding sources constrained, the Arts Impact Fund offers an innovative financial solution with tremendous potential for scale,” said Andrea Sullivan, international head of Environment, Social and Governance at Bank of America Merrill Lynch. “We are delighted to be involved in this initiative, offering not only financial support, but also experience of impact investing, which is helping to create sustainable change in communities globally.”

Since 2015, just over £3 million of the £7 million fund has been shared among eight organizations representing a range of art forms around the country. As of July 2017, following the £2 million investment announcement, the Arts Impact Fund had committed £5.4 million to 16 organizations.

Art Conservation Project conserves painting at The Wallace Collection

Our Art Conservation Project supports museums throughout the world to conserve historically or culturally significant works of art. The program has been running since 2010 and has now funded more than 100 projects in 29 countries.

In 2016, the Wallace Collection in London received a grant for the restoration of two large paintings by Giovanni António Canal (1697–1768), commonly known as Canaletto, a well-known practitioner of the Italian Vedute. A Vedute is a topographical landscape painting, typically showing a recognizable cityscape or view.

The work on these paintings is being carried out by the Hamilton Kerr Institute in Cambridge, UK where they are removing the grime and old varnish and conducting scientific analysis using x-radiography and pigment sampling to interrogate the artist’s working methods.

Dr. Xavier Bray, Director of the Wallace Collection, said, “This grant is a fantastic opportunity for the Collection to launch our major conservation and research project of the Vedute paintings at the Wallace. We are extremely grateful to Bank of America Merrill Lynch for supporting this endeavour, and we look forward to sharing the results with the public.”


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