This section presents web sites that are directed mostly to artists and arts professionals and offer various kinds of services. Among them you can find companies and organizations who deal in artists’ promotion, sites where artists can find funding or others where they can promote and sell their works, directories of professional for contacts and databases with sale details of art works created by thousands of artists.
AMA is a nonprofit organization which, through a broad spectrum of events and educational seminars, attempts to promote the work of artists and make them known to the general public offering them the necessary equipment so they can promote their work more effectively. The organization’s services are available to artists based in the United Kingdom and those interested to enjoy these services’ benefits must become members and pay a subscription fee. The educational programs include creative workshops, master classes, an annual conference, online marketing seminars etc. while also available are members’ local meetings so artistic communities present in particular locales can be also promoted.
In the web site, interested artists can see the whole range of available services, read reports and case studies, see the agenda and the speakers of the annual conference etc; for foreign residents, the site offers access to specialized online material through a small subscription fee. Also available is a weekly updated blog including news about the organization’s various activities.
For many years anyone creating handicrafts (jewels, gifts etc.) and wanted to sell them on the Internet had to pick between eBay and a personal web site; etsy was created to bridge this gap and judging from its acceptance it has managed to succeed. It was founded in 2005 and in the seven years it has been operating, it has achieved some important milestones including 42 million monthly visitors, 13 million of objects for sale coming from 800 creators and annual sales over half a billion dollars for 2011; its annual growth rate has been 60% for five consecutive years.
The products sold come from a broad spectrum of categories including art, photography, jewelry, cosmetics, edible products, candles, clothing, furniture and more. One of the web site’s main advantages is that it does not charge a monthly fee like many sites of its kind; instead it asks for a small fee for every item included and for a fixed percentage from each sale, making it a very accessible solution for budding creators.
As the crowdsourcing model is becoming more and more popular the last few years, it was only a matter of time until we saw dedicated sites of this type; USA Projects is one such site, addressing artists who try to raise funds for personal projects and they don’t have access to organizations specialized in their fields (or they don’t want to get tangled in the bureaucracy associated with the submission of an official sponsorship request). Among the advantages of USA Projects is that an impressive 75% of the requests manage to actually reach their financial goals.
For every project hosted in the site, visitors can read a detailed resume of the artist as well as a description of the project itself; this presentation also includes a video. Also available is information about the sum needed/asked for and the percentage already covered by donations, the time frame the artists have set for the collection of funds and the privileges offered to donors; these privileges vary depending on the sum donated.
Creative Capital is an organization focusing on the funding of artists. Since its founding in 1999, it has spent more than twenty five million dollars in donations, supporting 372 projects with 463 participating artists and has also offered supportive infrastructure (seminars, special equipment etc.) to more than four thousand artists. The foundation’s sponsoring focuses on five areas –emerging fields, movies/video, literature, performance arts and visual arts and the funding for each project can’t exceed the amount of $90,000, half of which is offered as actual money and half as consulting services.
In Creative Capital’s web site, visitors can see all the projects that have been funded with a short description for each and with any distinctions they might have received. Also, available for viewing are the projects that have obtained high marks but haven’t been approved for funding; these projects are being constantly watched by the foundation for the possibility of a future collaboration. Finally, the site offers online consulting workshops that can be of great help to interested artists.
Artify is a technology start-up that hopes to establish a new model of art management, adopting practices that apply in other markets; for example, the renting of movies through Netflix. In Artify, interested parties can pay a pre-determined subscription fee and borrow art works on a monthly basis –after the month expires, the subscriber can either continue keeping the particular work of art and continue paying on a monthly basis or exchange it with another work of art from the site’s collection.
Subscriptions start from $50/month while there are extra services with separate charges; these services include the option of choosing among various works of art, shipment and installation of the rented works, advice and information about the work’s maintenance etc. The artists that have created each work benefit from a percentage off the rental fee as well as from the publicity they gain from participating in Artify, while they also reserve their right to sell their work at any time.
Artfire is an e-marketplace selling handmade products and works of art; it differs from other electronic marketplaces in that interested parties can sell their products without being charged. Actually, what the site offers is a free plan in which a seller can exhibit up to 12 products simultaneously; this offers said sellers the chance to try the platform before they sign up for more complex, subscription based plans.
The site’s appeal has proven quite high resulting in almost a million of products from eighty thousand sellers being offered for sale. Foe every product, the site contains information including the product’s description, the materials used for its creation, its cost and the shipping charges, the seller’s rating by previous transactions and the seller’s contact points as well as information about other products the particular seller has on offer and a seller’s short curriculum vitae. Another interesting feature of the site is the blog section where each seller can publish articles and have a more direct communication channel with the site’s visitors.
Artspan is a platform offering artists the possibility of creating their own web sites so they can promote and sell their works. Every micro-site can have its own visual design, navigation menu, content structure and even domain name and Artspan targets artists from various disciplines including painting, sketching, illustration, photography, handicrafts and jewelry.
The platform offers a wide variety of pre-designed layouts as well as a rich collection of fonts, color combinations and backgrounds so every creation can be unique. There are three different charge plans with the basic starting from $14/month and reaching $20/month; the price is quite reasonable compared to the cost of creating an autonomous web site from scratch. Besides low cost, other advantages of this model is that the creator doesn’t have to spend money for promoting the site through search engines etc or worry about how to optimize it for access through mobile phones since all that is managed through the platform itself. Users of the platform or other interesting parties can find more about it in the site’s extensive forum system.