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ArtLustr app expands accessibility to gallery art purchases

The ArtLustr app is designed to put pop up shows online and increase the efficacy of purchasing power.
Katie Moore and Magdalene Law

Katie Moore and Magdalene Law /Eric Tank


"I think that there will be a shift in art purchasing in the next ten years. But it's the next ten years... Theres a lot of work to do."

-Magdalene Law

Katie Moore displays the ArtLustr app on an iphone

Katie Moore displays the ArtLustr app on an iphone /Eric Tank

The ArtLustr app is a new technology introduced in Grand Rapids from Con Artist Crew co-owners Magdalene Law and Katie Moore that makes purchasing art from exhibitions more efficient. 

ArtLustr LLC, which partnered with Tiger Studio, is currently in the beta testing phase. Funded by Start Garden, the second round capital was used to build the website. ArtLustr hopes to secure more funds in order to complete its first round of data measurement. The app was launched at the end of March and uses either PayPal or as payment platforms. 

ArtLustr is the answer to pop up galleries which have art exhibited but not necessarily the resources to keep the space staffed the entire duration of the show. By providing a kiosk with an iPad that lists all the art with artist bios, shoppers can use a card to make a purchase online and then either come back to pick it up when the show is over or have the piece delivered to them. 

The website can also be accessed by anyone online. If one is unable to make it to the exhibit, for example, she can peruse the entire show online and make a purchase that way. In one instance, Moore recalls a man from Canada who was doing an online search for a favorite artist and came across the ArtLustr site, which was featuring the artist's work at the time and he bought a piece to be shipped to him. 

So far the results look promising. By comparing the amount of sales normally made without the kiosk to sales made while using it, Moore says they are able to gauge the effect. In a couple of instances shows sold more than half of the available artwork. 

"So far the website's worked great. We haven't had any issues with that. Obviously the artists like it because it's helping them sell their work," says Moore. 

Con Artist Crew was started by Magdelene Law and a business partner two years ago to feature street style art. The idea was to push contemporary boundaries and offer Grand Rapids something a little more uncomfortable and to do it with a DIY ethos. The first year Con Artist Crew operated out of a studio on Godfrey Street for about a year before the co-founders parted ways. Katie Moore came on board and the Godfrey studio was closed in favor of pop up sites. 

"My theory with art space is always been you shouldn't have to rent a space because there's so many open spaces in the city that can just be utilized," says Moore. 

Both Moore and Law are actively searching for ways to spark more conversation about the value of art and change perceptions about collecting art in West Michigan. Their foray into pop up shows and the utilization of technology to enhance that experience has been an entrepreneurial experience that Law says is often a "conflicting" reality for many people. And yet artists, especially the younger ones, are not getting the practical education about how to sustain oneself selling their artwork. 

"I think Grand Rapids needs to start a dialog about the value of art," says Moore.

Bridging the gap between the physical space and a virtual one is one method to extend reach.

"We realized there was a need for some sort of technology to happen to make the art show online," says Law.

"We want people to have the gallery experience," continues Moore. "We want them to know that if they're in town this is going on. They can go buy the piece. If you go to the show and didn't buy the piece, you can go home and still get online and buy it."

More than moving the availability of an art show beyond the walls of the gallery, ArtLustr offers buyers another avenue for purchasing original art. The more options a buyer has, hope Law and Moore, the more sales will be made. 

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