If you didn’t catch it, in June Non-Profit Quarterly had a good 101 guide on when it is appropriate for non-profits to take out loans. Most times you hear about non-profits and loans it is once the non-profit is in financial trouble and deep in debt. The discussion of constructive use of loans by non-profit arts organizations is relatively rare.
In my own experience, conversations among arts administrators usually touches on earned revenue, fund raising/sponsorships and grants. I have never heard anyone talk about using loans to fund an initiative. This might be, as the NPQ article suggests, there is a stigma of failure associated with taking out a loan. Or it might be simply that we are so used to worrying about falling attendance, lack luster fundraising and onerous grant writing that no one really thinks to mention loans.
In addition to discussing the times it is and is not appropriate to seek a loan, the article notes that there are no “one-size-fits-all” loans so organizations can negotiate terms that suit their needs. They also provide a general sense of what answers and materials you might expect to be asked to provide as part of the loan process.