Thank you for taking the time to visit Arthub. We’ve been running for nearly two years now and in that time have developed the site as an online space to showcase the creators and cultural happenings that are making the English Riviera a destination for arts in the South West.
Over the course of this time we’ve regularly reviewed, updated and developed how the site works, looking at how audiences navigate the space, how artists profiles are discovered and what content is inspiring most audiences. As such, we thought it would be timely going into 2020 to explain a bit about how the site is changing, where it’s been successful, where it’s needed some attention and how it’s going to keep improving in the year ahead.
This is all still, we feel, early days; we’re calling these Phase 2, it’s still not the finished project, and our big ambition is to be able to fund extensive bespoke development in the future that isn’t achievable in the current platform. In the meantime, there’s a lot to celebrate including more control in users hands, easier ways to navigate and browse and some statistics prove the South West arts are getting noticed.
the elevator pitch...
Arthub continues to be a project supported by Artizan Gallery which will provide a comprehensive digital space for artists and creatives to work, promote and collaborate. To date we’ve grown it as a competitive sales platform and a content rich site which sees hundreds of weekly visitors.
the slightly longer version...
Not a lot has changed from where we started; Arthub at its heart is still a website which incorporates content publishing tools and e-commerce packages into a social site. It’s here to publish articles, host videos, promote events and sell artwork, all the while celebrating its creative community.
Arthub is tailored towards creatives and individuals working in creative industries and aims to provide the necessary tools for them to work effectively online. Whether, it’s part of a larger online portfolio, or its your one-stop for your online profile, it’s great for the tech savvy or the online novice.
what is arthub...
“A comprehensive digital space for artists and creatives to work, promote and collaborate”
The ambition remains the same. Arthub aims to provide a solution which is simple to use but fully featured, with all the tools an artist needs to promote themselves; a service that is inexpensive and excellent value, offering an affordable solution which the internet savvy can add to their existing portfolio of online marketing, or online novices can utilise as a fully packaged, one stop option to web promotion; and most importantly, it will offer a community space which doesn’t just promote the individual but the whole, designed to maximise artists efforts by bringing them together under one roof.
why do we believe in arthub...
who we are
We're the people at Artizan Gallery, an independent, family run art space which has dedicated itself to supporting the local art scene in the beautiful English Riviera. We're not artists but we are art lovers and over five years we’ve grown our existing venue on Lucius Street and supported initiatives to pop-up in many more. We’ve worked with hundreds of artists and run nearly as many exhibitions!
And Arthub has been built on this work we’ve done with creative communities, based on the conversations, needs and opportunities which you’ve shared with us since we opened our doors.
With another two years under our belts, we think the early principles that inspired Arthub still stand; here’s where we started from back then:
Artists are the best people to promote their work. No matter how hard we try, we will never be able to sell your artwork as well as you can. Buyers and collectors love to hear about your work from you.
Artists often dislike talking about their work. We see it at all our launch events. Many artists hide themselves in the corners as far away as possible from their work because their nervous about discussing it!
Online marketing is essential. It doesn’t take a genius to figure it out, the internet has changed how we go about our day to day lives. This applies to everything we do from banking, to socialising, to how we shop, and that isn’t just isolated to ordering the groceries online, it applies to buying art too!
Whether its Torbay or London, the tools at an artists disposals to promote themselves online at a local or national level are lacking. There are some exceptions with sites like Art Rabbit offering a free, functional and stylish service to promote art exhibitions nationally, but its potential to reach people locally in small towns and cities is limited.
Disjointed and inadequate digital promotion sites make online marketing a full-time job. We should know, we’re doing it every day, fighting our way through a mess of local newspaper sites, radio pages, events listings and social media to best promote the exhibitions we run. It easily takes up two to three days every week for us!
Artists are better together. Whether it’s affordability of opportunities, division of labour or simply having a louder voice, artists are more successful in numbers. When we think about the art group we believe it’s important that collectives are not just made up of artists but of arts businesses too and that connections are nurtured between these individuals to benefit each other; after all, we’d be out of a job if it wasn’t for artists!
So, what has Arthub done so far?
One of the core elements of the site is the artist profiles and these aren’t going anywhere. A fully featured profile allows artists to update collectors about themselves and their art, publish blog posts, promote events and sell online. A simple design mimics a bare gallery wall, ensuring that nothing detracts from the sites best feature, the artwork. These profiles have all the features of your own, independent, fully functioning site but without the price tag, granting them the opportunity to be used as either an additional outlet for artists or as the sole online presence. And the whole thing is as simple to setup as a Facebook profile, fill out a form telling us about yourself and you’re away.
Blog posts are now just as easy, with a responsive creation system accessible to all approved users that lets you see just how your post will look as you write it and allowing you to create beautiful posts using content from video, to images, to feedback forms.
“Arthub is not just an e-commerce platform, its a fully functioning “digital arts space”, an online gallery for artists, creative businesses and art lovers to interact in.”
How we promote events has changed. Over the past two years Facebook has cemented itself as users go to platform for discovering “What’s on” and we’re not going to try and fight that. When events are ticketed, we still host the box office internally on the site but Arthub now redirects audiences to discover events through the Artizan Gallery Facebook page.
The important thing to remember, is that Arthub is still, not just an e-commerce platform and not your standard online shopping cart. ArtHub continues to be a fully functioning “digital arts space”, a content driven, online gallery for artists, creative businesses and art lovers to interact in.
However, our online shop is growing, and buyers are asking more of our e-commerce products, giving us the chance to become a competitive platform in the online market. So, as we enter 2020, we’ve already made some big changes with new categories, filters and searches making browsing work by artist, exhibition or theme a more enjoyable experience for visitors in the last 6 months, but there’s more to come, including:
Simplifying. We’re changing the way artist profiles work; based on our review, audiences were often leaving the site when they hit a standard profile where work wasn’t available to purchase. As such, from next year we’ll be scrapping standard profiles and offering free upgrades for existing users to full e-commerce profiles. After this, the annual profile price will sit at £75 per year for a full e-commerce profile (previously £150).
The full picture. With this lower price tag, we will be asking artists for a little bit more but giving back just as much in return. Our audiences are a demanding bunch and again we’re learning from their browsing habits. Work listings with less information and few or low-quality images perform less well and can even result in users leaving the site altogether. To combat this, we’ll be supporting artists to provide more information to their listings and helping them to supply high quality images that show off their work to its full potential so that every listing on our site is perfect.
Curators picks. With better functionality and more high-quality listings, we’ll be making the most of this new experience by inviting guest curators to showcase the work they love from the site. Picked monthly these selected collections will be available to audiences on a temporary basis to discover the top picks on the site.
“Artists are better together. Whether it’s affordability of opportunities, division of labour or simply having a louder voice, artists are more successful in numbers.”
As we’ve said already, these are still small steps for an ambitious platform but developments that we hope will continue to take Arthub forward to offer an inspiring experience for audiences and a powerful tool for artists.