How has the Sharing Economy Affected the Art Industry?

April 10, 2017 |

Aspiring artists, curators, and gallery owners face significant monetary and institutional barriers to success in the art world. While services like Airbnb and Uber have upended the ride service and hospitality industries, no sharing platform has altered dynamics on such a large scale in the art world.

This doesn’t mean no one’s trying. In recent years, a few forward-thinking entrepreneurs have created new services that have the potential to make the art industry more accessible for everyone.

Experience Versus Ownership

In the wake of the world financial crisis, individuals increasingly favor  affordable and meaningful experiences over ownership. Saddled with student debt and shaped by the lessons of 2008, Millennials in particular exercise extreme caution when making large financial decisions. The sharing economy thrives in these circumstances by providing financially savvy individuals with less expensive options for desired goods and services

Sharing services designed for the art world make art more affordable, physically widespread, and allow artists to more easily monetize their craft.

Sharing Innovations in the Art World

Instead of sitting in storage, artists can rent out their work through Brooklyn-based, ArtMgt (US). Users rent art on a monthly basis and have the option to permanently buy an artwork if they fall in love with it. Artists can rent out multiple pieces of work to create a sustainable income, while renters can have professional art in their homes without making a large investment.

Artstarter (DK) facilitates internationally-available, crowdfunded, and limited-edition productions of artists’ work. Just like other crowdfunding services, contributors only pay their pledged amount if the campaign reaches its funding goal. Aspiring artists who haven’t had luck exhibiting their work in galleries can use crowdfunding services to connect directly with potential buyers all over the world. Art-focused crowdfunding and marketplaces services create an alternative path to notoriety for new and unknown artists.

Boston-based Tekuma turns everyday spaces like building lobbies and offices into art galleries. They purchase art from local artists and organizations and sell or rent them to building owners who exhibit them for their occupants. Passerbys can purchase the artwork or simply enjoy its presence.
Galleries might find themselves left out in the cold if they can’t compete with the attractiveness of such simple, affordable services. Peer-to-peer services that connect artists directly with art-lovers might end the ‘starving artist’ phenomena by creating alternative methods for artists to gain notoriety and monetize their work.

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