ART500 was an idea I had several years ago. I wanted to create a non judgemental, relaxed environment for people to enjoy Art, encourage non Art buyers to become buyers and buyers to become collectors. And I wanted to make this available for people with all levels of income.
So why did I come up with this idea?
I am fortunate to have many friends who are Artists and whose life revolves around the Arts and also a large network of friends, colleagues and acquaintances for whom Art is not part of their normal life. People for whom Art is something that 'other people' buy and love and visit in galleries. People for whom the best they thought they could do for themselves and their homes was decorator prints from IKEA or a home wares store. And other people who wanted to have beautiful Art but thought it was out of their reach.
For many, the notion that Art is a luxury, unaffordable and something that you must 'know about' before you can get involved with it.
People feel excluded from the possibility of Art in their lives.
And for me, Art is so central, I simply couldn't imagine not having it around me. But I could easily understand how difficult it can be to afford. Making Art and selling Art is not cheap and Artists often struggle to make any kind of living from their work no matter how talented they are. So what to do...
Tapping into my Artist network I tossed around the idea of creating work at a low price point for a dedicated online gallery. Starting ART500,
There are other online sites of course, so many of these are cluttered, had no quality control and overly focused on emerging artists in order to be affordable. Some were simply 'megamarts' of questionable quality. I wanted to offer something different to all the other online art websites already out there. I wanted to add something to this vast morass called the Internet.
So I focused on Artists with strong credentials, commitment and exhibiting history. Artists who have a track record making and showing quality work.
It costs a lot to make Art, and being an Artist, while it is wonderful to spend time creating, can be a challenging way to make a living. I wanted to give Artists another avenue too, so I created a model very different to commercial bricks and mortar spaces and had a lot of conversations. To keep prices to $500 and under, many of the works on this site will be smaller scale and offered unframed, they will all be original and there will be no sacrifice in quality.
I have selected a group of Artists for the launch who I genuinely feel honoured to be a part of this new venture (we will have a few more join us in coming months too).
Since first dreaming up this idea, I've had a busy time with exhibitions, house moves and the other things that life throws at you. So I put the idea on the backburner, just bringing it out occasionally, mentioning it to people I know and wondering if and when I would be able to get the idea off the ground but doing nothing more. But late last year I decided it was time.
It's been a bit of a learning curve building an online gallery and e-commerce site from scratch. I have run projects before, coordinating lots of activities and people, but creating a business involving a number of people is something more complex. It has taken longer to get off the ground that I expected, but I know the quality of the gallery makes it worth the wait.....so HERE WE ARE!