Giving Back: Making Artwork Accessible to More

by Julie Tereshchuk on November 5, 2018 in Entertainment, Art,

Launched in Summer 2018, ArtStartArt is an Austin-based online marketplace designed to support university-level art school students and make the practice of buying and selling original artwork a more approachable experience.

Created by Alok Marwaha and Erik Culver, the new platform was inspired by Culver’s own experiences. The founders are proud to give 5% of each sale back to student art programs. We asked Erik Culver to tell us more.

Created by Alok Marwaha (left) and Erik Culver, ArtStartArt is an Austin-based online marketplace designed to support university-level art school students. Photo Molly Culver

What inspired you and Alok to start ArtStartArt?

When I graduated from art school, I realized my friends and I had created a huge amount of artwork but none of us knew what to do with it. Most of the work was collecting dust at our parent’s house or sitting under our beds. As the years passed, I realized many of us have an appreciation for original art, but the cost is typically a barrier to acquire it. I knew the quality of work being produced at universities and knew ASA could be a great opportunity to bring it to a bigger audience.

ArtStartAustin makes the practice of buying and selling original artwork a more approachable experience.
Photo Molly Culver

Who is ArtStartArt aimed at? And how does it work?

ArtStartArt is designed specifically to support university level art school students while they are in school or recently graduated. It is free for students to use and, every month, students submit work through our marketplace. Curators select a wide range of mediums and and styles from the submissions and each month we introduce a brand new collection of art on ArtStartArt.com.  The artwork is only available for around one month – it’s kind of like an art flash sale. Students receive the majority of the commission and 5% of each purchase is donated back to that student’s university fine arts program.

Five percent of each purchase is donated back to the artist’s university fine arts program.
Photo Molly Culver

What are your goals for ArtStartArt?

To get the amazing original work students are producing out into the world and hanging on walls for people to experience. We hope over the next couple of years to bring ArtStartArt to universities nationwide.  We really want folks to know how great it is to live with wonderful, accessible, original artwork and we want to empower students to share their craft and talent.

What else should TLM readers know?

If you don’t own a piece of original artwork, my advice is to take the leap and buy one. I think it can be intimidating experience for the first time, but in my experience artwork is something you start to love more the longer you live with it. When you support an artist you are impacting the direction of their life and work, and it’s an awesome thing. And, of course, if you want to support a student artist we’d love to talk to you about it!


Cover photo Molly Culver