Art on the Rio popped up in 2021, in response to 2020 a year we all might want to forget for more reasons than just a pandemic. At the time, Art on the Rio was a concept that was supposed to “live” in a building – and good ol’ COVID decided that would not be the case. A gallery space along Rio Grande boulevard would instead be paid for, for 9 empty months…
Fast forward to September 2021 and what you find in Art on the Rio, is a privately run and owned, Art Dealership and Ghost Gallery. The startup costs, the operating costs, and the hustle on a daily basis, is exactly that – a hustle. Art on the Rio is a micro-business, much like the thousands of others here in Albuquerque. It’s a blessing to be able to do the work we do, in a place like this. Only here does the opportunity exist, to own something and run it, literally out of your car and house… And so we chose to do so: an Art Dealership and Ghost Gallery were born.
What are those? Well, they’re something that really didn’t exist before we dreamt them up – well, that’s not all true… There are some “buy original art, and ship it to you…” style businesses in the country and world, but here in NM and the Southwest, they’re sparse at best. Sites that do focus on hand-crafted goods seem to focus on “that” – anything made by hand – or produced in less than a mass production fashion, by an artist and maker.
Art on the Rio is not that…
We only sell contemporary original/visual art.
Art on the Rio aimed to find a space where we could connect with Artists, primarily painters, who didn’t want to seek “exclusive” representation via a traditional gallery.
We are aiming to work with and for artists who have their own “hustles.” Many of the artists that have come to find Art on the Rio, found us on their own, inquired via our website www.artontherio.com or hit us up on IG about how to Submit for consideration.
Needless to say, “finding a space” to exist and serve a purpose wasn’t hard. That’s “why art…” because artists should be allowed TO JUST CREATE – if they so choose. But, that leaves A LOT “to do.” Marketing, social media content creation, sales outreach and negotiation, shipping and packing, and so much more… Those are the things we are here for.
We hope we are here to stay. It seems as though we are serving quite the purpose for purposeful artists who want to create and leave the rest up to us.
How does it work? You might be wondering –
Well, we take in a small amount of inventory from any artist we begin to work with and for and ask that they take photos of their work for the Virtual Gallery where everything we inventory goes for viewing and potential purchase.
Next we aim to within about 15 business days (3 weeks) get that work physically out into a location we work with. We have 12 Brick And Mortar Partner locations around ABQ. They all have different levels of foot traffic, different clientele, and different purposes they serve as businesses and organizations in our community. We think that this mix of partners allows for art to collide with potential buyers who might have never ran into it otherwise – this is where they are given the option to BUY! They don’t have to – they can simply enjoy the work too. The work changes whether it’s sold or not, every 30, 60, or 90 days – give or take. We manage these situations with our Brick and Mortar Partner Locations on a case by case basis. We rotate art and give our locations and their patrons variety, because we realize that not everyone wants to buy art, but we bet MOST people want to at least look at it. We aim to give them something different to look at, on a regular basis.
Like we said, not everyone thinks art should be sold. Even more folks have opinions about how it should be sold – who should be allowed to sell it. There are arguments in the art and consumer world about what level or quality of art should be sold. There are also artists and critics who wonder or question why artists even sell work, instead of being paid just to create it. We have no absolute answers to those questions. We have opinions… but we will save them, and share with you a belief instead.
We believe that Albuquerque is a place where artists should and can support their livelihoods with their own hands – sometimes with a little help…
When we say little, we mean little.
20% of sales goes into the operating budget of Art on the Rio – in other words we KEEP 20 percent of what things sell for. Where does the other 80% go? Directly to the ARTIST! Yep, you read that right – and that’s “WHY,” because we’ve never seen a representative body do anything like this before.
Traditional models and event driven models of art engagement and sale tend to charge artists to be involved. Before and until their first sale artists who work with Art on the Rio pay NOTHING.
We of course reserve the right to choose to work with and for the artists who submit, or not – but to date we’ve not turned anyone away. It’s about capacity – if we have the ability to do it, we will – and if we can help – we try. We aren’t here to tell artists what is and isn’t art. Blemish and damage free, wired and ready to hang artwork is what we are in the business of aiming to sell. If you have the desire to try your hands in an artistic marketplace, we invite you to try it out. We aren’t here to take a lion’s share. We are here to share in the success and possibility of art and the opportunities it creates for Albuquerque’s artists.
Speaking of opportunities – on top of the Virtual Gallery, Brick and Mortar Placement, Marketing, Sales and Distribution help – we are figuring some other things out.
2022 will bring paid opportunities for painters to JUST PAINT. We aren’t a non-profit, we aren’t a municipally funded operation – we are simply a couple of folks who care, and want artists to be paid for their creations, in a way that is fair. Can you get down with that? Then, check us out, in real time, or online – #BuyArt.