BlkArthouse is a public benefit LLC and a mission-driven enterprise. As such, we are dedicated to showcasing and providing full disclosure on how we are using revenue to support our mission and the impact we are making.
The mission of BlkArthouse is to increase access and representation of Black art and artists in the marketplace.
Last year BlkArthouse started just with our founder and six artists. Now, we've grown to a dynamic all-female team of four and work with over 200 artists across the globe. 2021 was a year of tremendous growth--we started hosting in-person art events, formalized our operations, and built an educational seminar program for our artists. We refined our mission and found tested solutions for addressing racial injustice in the visual arts.
To ensure we stay on track with our mission and keep our supporters up to date, we have compiled this informal Impact Report for 2021 based on our internal record-keeping. Please direct any questions or comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.
1. We Built the BLKMKT
This February we launched the BLKMKT, an online marketplace for Black art. The BLKMKT creates a central location for consumers to browse and invest in artwork by our community of artists. For artists, the BLKMKT offers the highest take-home profits of any other online marketplace (such as Artsy or Saatchi Art) and allows them to more easily connect to Black art collectors.
Based on our research, the BLKMKT is currently the largest marketplace for Black art, hosting artwork by over 100 Black artists around the world.
2. We Hosted Two Art Exhibitions
During the summer and winter months we pulled together art exhibitions dedicated to highlighting Black artists and celebrating Black culture. We partnered with local cultural and arts-based organizations to host the exhibitions, which allowed our local communities to engage with and invest in Black art and artists in a fun and accessible way. In total, we showcased the artwork of 29 artists and over 400 people attended these events.
What is Black Art took place in Washington, DC, and displayed the varying perspectives of Black artists and artwork. In commemoration of Juneteenth, the exhibition featured artwork by 19 Black artists around the world and was featured in the Washington Post.
The Essence of a Black Woman took place in Baltimore, MD, and showcased varying portrayals of Black femininity in America and abroad. The exhibition featured artwork by 10 Black artists, provided food by Black restaurants, and was featured on WBAL News.
3. We Started the Taking Up Space Initiative
In May, Creative Director Joli McTerrell launched the "Taking Up Space" Initiative in order to highlight and connect you to the stories of our Black artists and partners. With this initiative, Ms. Joli personally meets and interviews numerous artists in our community and publishes their stories in a series of blog posts.
The goal of the series is to go beyond the canvas; to actually build connection with our artists and explore their humanity and work. For example, the series covers Black southern culture as it is portrayed through photography, what it's like to be a gay, Black man in America, the intersection of incarceration and art, and more.
4. Over 85% of Our Art Revenue Went to Artists, Totaling Over $12,000
Due to the launch of the BLKMKT and our in-person art exhibitions, we had a record year of facilitating art sales for our Black artists. As you know, BlkArthouse is different because we ensure our artists retain a majority of their profits from art sales, which means the majority of your purchase dollars are going directly to the artists themselves. This year, we're proud to announce that we were able to facilitate artist payouts of $12,937. The funds artists receive from art sales help many purchase art supplies, apply to new opportunities, and transition into becoming full-time artists.
Any commission we take from art sales helps us run our artist programming, host our art exhibitions, and compensate our staff.
5. We Developed an Artist Educational Seminar Program
In order to better assist Black artists in navigating the market and accelerating their careers, we developed a free educational seminar program that taught artists about pursuing an art career and developing business skills. We partnered with industry experts to host 12 educational seminars over the course of 8 months, including seminars on important topics like copyright law, creating an artist portfolio, building relationships with galleries, minting and selling NFT's, and more.
The artist education program is one of the main value-adds for our BlkArtists and was a driving force behind the huge growth of our artist community.
6. We Increased Our Team to Four
How does this fit into fulfilling our mission? It gave us a larger force for impact and we got A LOT more efficient. We won't bore you with details, but here's a few important notes on this point:
By hiring a creative director (Joli McTerrell), we are able to operationalize large scale art events while maintaining a direct and human connection to our artists.
By hiring a growth manager (Allison Bishop), we were able to successfully run a crowdfund campaign that will help us develop artist programming for this year.
By hiring a financial director (Kelly Dunbar), we are able to continually monitor how we're financially helping artists on a day-to-day basis.