Not everyone has to have a background in the arts to have a passion for the arts. Such is the case with entrepreneur, Kay Wilson, owner and creator of The Gallery Exchange. Forget what you thought about the on-line art gallery, it’s flat, stale way of viewing artwork. Wilson has taken on the old model of an on-line gallery and turned it into a stylish, interactive and affordable means in which to own or lease high quality artwork.
“Back in March of this year I visited a hub group in which to flush out entrepenurial ideas, and art leasing was a sub-category of my idea” Wilson explains, “Nobody really gave me a second thought. However, when I attended a couple weeks later, the guy running the hub, was very interested and liked the idea of people getting to try the art out first before buying”. The next thing you know, Wilson was being introduced to a company who created an application to view the artwork from the on-line gallery through your IPad or tablet, thus creating a more inter-active home or office viewing of artwork for your walls.
“I wanted to build something that would be beefy enough that a professional trade person would be excited about using it. There would be the opportunity for them to organize multiple projects at once. Being able to go on the site and manage your project, by rotating artwork easily at your desk” Wilson states “Clients are able to organize mini galleries within their own cart of artwork that they are interested in and even send that to a client for approval”. Wilson’s clients are not just designers, her mission was to make this site friendly enough that homebuyers could also use it.
Wilson came from the “house flipping” industry and after fixing up homes, she would stage them with furniture and artwork. In speaking with some realtors around town about where they find the artwork to place in their staged homes, the realtors explained that they are able to find artists and their artwork to stage their homes for free. “The realtors explained to me that sometimes the artist’s artwork would sell and of course sometimes it wouldn’t and that is how the artist got paid”. Wilson realized that while this style of showcasing artist’s work was clever, it was also unfair to the artist, as they get paid nothing for their efforts unless the homebuyer purchases the artwork. “This absolutely blew my mind away that the artists were totally putting themselves out there to sell their artwork, essentially giving up their art in the hopes that maybe one person might buy it. In my mind I just said “no”, the artist needs something out of it,” explains Wilson “Even before I thought of this business concept I knew I wanted to create a business that was a “win win” situation. I wanted a business where artists could showcase their artwork in a meaningful way and they would get paid for it. In the same token, the person who was able to have the art was able to receive amazing works of art that could be worth thousands of dollars and not have to commit that amount of money to it until they actually knew they loved it”.
There is no fee to show your artwork on The Gallery Exchange website. “I offer a fair split on the rental fee and I demonstrate to each artist that if they are getting let’s say $10 a month for their artwork rental and if you factor in the whole return on investment, you, as the artist will realize that you are doing something totally different with your art. You are actually making a return on your investment, which can be 4% on a short month but let’s say its a 6 month rental, an artist is looking at 18-22% return”. Renters of art can also earn credit towards the purchase of art from the fees that are paid.
It is the mission of The Gallery Exchange to get people excited about the artist and the art, to showcase the artwork in a user-friendly environment. “It’s about getting artists into the mind frame that they can let their art work for them, instead of them working for their art. Also, I believe this puts value on the artwork and that an artist doesn’t have to give themselves away to make money”. The Gallery Exchange works with 2-D and 3-D artists and their work.
If you are an artist, homebuyer, or business looking to expand your art, you may contact Kay Wilson at kay@TheGalleryExchange.com, visit the website at www.TheGalleryExchange.com.
Wendy L. Pitton R. is a culture writer for 303 Magazine and the owner of WENDO Productions. WENDO Productions is an artistic production and artist representative company. WENDOProductions.com