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ABQ startup launches on-line art gallery

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Struggling artists from New Mexico and elsewhere have a new, affordable venue available to exhibit, sell and archive their work online.

Albuquerque-based startup artAttendant launched its new web-based gallery and marketplace this month — — for artists, collectors, dealers and others to post and manage their products and services. And it’s all for free — until a piece of artwork is actually sold. That’s when artAttendant co-founders Viviette Hunt and Alejandro Echeverry earn a commission on the sale.

“Our business model is to monetize our services only when a sale is actually made,” Hunt said. “That allows everyone to access it, while offering artists an affordable, collective, online platform for their work with no upfront costs.”

Most other platforms are membership-based sites with recurring fees, making online promotion and management unaffordable for many struggling artists, collectors and dealers, Hunt said. By offering artAttendant for free, many more local artists can make their work known to a much broader audience.

Nearly 50 artists, collectors and dealers are already using the site.

“We had close to 20 people sign up in just the first hours after launch,” Hunt said. “People are really engaging with the site.”

Marketing and website development consultant Maresa Thompson, who provides promotional assistance to artAttendant, said the site could be a boon to New Mexico’s growing artist communities.

“New Mexico’s gaining a wide reputation as an art mecca, with places like Taos, Santa Fe and Albuquerque seen as one of the go-to cultural art markets of the world,” Thompson said. “A homegrown site like this can allow more local artists to build on that reputation by getting seen and known online.”

Nancy Zastudil, an arts dealer, collector and writer who runs the Central Features Contemporary Art gallery in Downtown Albuquerque, said artAttendant is particularly appealing to her.

“With all the fees that other sites charge, it was just too cost-prohibitive,” Zastudil said. “But artAttendant offers a clean, free platform that’s very accessible and easy to use. The images look great, and I can link directly to it from my site.”

artAttendant, a graduate of the Creative Startups business accelerator, will debut its site in public next week at the annual LA Art Show in California.