Fariha Raisa, Feedback Labs | December 10, 2021
It’s said that a picture might be worth a thousand words, but whose words exactly does it represent? Traditionally, the art world has been known for its exclusivity, and Black artists, in particular, comprise only 1.2% of art collections in major art institutions. As a
result, buyers have less access to engage with and invest in Black artists, leading to an undervaluation and underrepresentation of Black artists on the global art market. Conversely, Black artists also have struggled to navigate and advance their art careers due to a systemic lack of community, education, and resources.
Frustrated by the difficulties in finding and purchasing art by Black artists, founder Tatiana Rice launched the BlkArthouse platform in 2020 to provide a space for collectors looking for Black art and Black artists to thrive. Their mission is to increase the accessibility and representation of Black artists in the global art market through technology and community-building. Currently, BlkArthouse hosts over 200 artists on its platform, with more than half selling directly through them on their online marketplace and through their in-person art events.
As BlkArtHouse continues to expand the community for Black art and artists, they presented in LabStorms to brainstorm growth strategies. Discussions around feedback integration ideas and fundraising campaigns also formed a major part of the session.
- Actionable Ideas for a Small Social Enterprise. Since BlkArthouse is a public benefit LLC, attendees suggested considering a non-profit arm to help with art scholarships and other assistance to artists. Potential partnerships with a 501c3 non-profit to continue with art programs were also discussed to reduce the LLC and non-profit mode gap. For example, schools that need Black art representation can be partnered with for a workshop or exhibition and then leverage the school’s network to expand the work of BlkArtHouse. Moreover, participants pitched ideas to consider cryptocurrency/selling digital assets in the NFT marketplace, allowing retention of a fee over the NFT amount. Other recommendations included using the social enterprise structure to create more engagement by using a strategic identity that would provide the platform for discussions and recognition of Black art.
- They are integrating Feedback in Engagement Strategy. Attendees hypothesized that many buyers would like to stay involved because of the artists that BlkArtHouse is supporting. Since they would appreciate the fact that BlkArtHouse is led by and responsive to the artists, sharing artist feedback would strengthen buyer engagement. For example, sharing a summary of crucial input from artists in a particular month and how that has resulted in buyers’ offerings would celebrate artist-led plans. At the same time, it would reflect the commitment of BlkArtHouse to engaging artists and acting on feedback.
- Actualizing Artist Feedback in Marketing and Fundraising. To integrate artist feedback within the organization, participants suggested using micro-surveys to collect regular feedback from artists and then work with the advisory board to make sense of that data, discuss it further, and identify actionable steps that can be taken. Another idea to gain additional feedback was to have a survey that buyers complete as a way to gain insights to improve the business model or even identify ambassadors who can help grow the brand for BlkArtHouse. Furthermore, public representation of the organization was emphasized to create momentum for sales, and possible ideas included pop-up shows/events to connect with people and crowdfunding.
At the end of the engaging session, BlkArthouse reiterated the key takeaways as their next actionable steps. They emphasized the importance of getting more granular feedback to understand the mode of engagement. They would like to delve deeper into the process and analyze what is working best for keeping the artists and buyers engaged. Furthermore, they highlighted the need to be transparent about the organization’s progress of plans and strategies so that there is an effective closing of the feedback loop.
If you have a great idea for BlkArthouse to better connect with the community it serves, please reach out to [email protected]!
Learn More About BlkArthouse
BlkArthouse is a social enterprise dedicated to connecting people to Black art and artists. First and foremost, we are here to support and empower our Black artists. Our artist-first approach is integral to our business model. We believe Black art and Black artists matter, and we strive to create a place for Black creativity to thrive and art is accessible. Unfortunately, it is difficult for consumers to find and purchase Black art, and we aim to change that by showcasing Black art in a central and accessible location. The art world is too exclusive, and we want the BlkArthouse community to break this cycle by connecting artists, collectors, curators, brokers, and gallerists with each other and with opportunities. We attract emerging and talented Black artists that can offer affordable artwork through access to our educational resources, community-building, and artist-first approach.
Learn More About LabStorms
LabStorms are collaborative problem-solving sessions designed to help organizations tackle feedback-related challenges or share what’s working well in their practice.
Presenters leave the experience with honest, actionable feedback and suggestions to improve their feedback processes and tools.