This week on ArtEvolve we were joined by Louise Hamlin and Deborah Najar Jossa, Co-Founders of Art Mavens, an online platform for art professionals. They shared their insights into online community building in the art world.
The idea for an online platform specifically for art professionals and art organizations came about from a gap in the market identified by Louise and Deborah. Both art professionals, they would occasionally meet in person at conferences but found that, in-between these large art world events, there was a lack of opportunity for regular, organised contact.
The pair kept in touch and in March 2020 started work on the idea of creating an online space for the art community to meet and exchange ideas. Developing Art Mavens remotely (Louise and Deborah have not been in the same room since starting this venture!) they were able to better identify the needs of their community and users.
What sorts of spaces do art professionals interact in online?
In terms of social media, members of the art community are using the same online platforms as other communities, but perhaps not always in the same way, or with the same frequency.
Facebook: useful for nurturing real-life connections (art world connections are often personal).
Instagram: popular with artists and those who communicate in a very visual manner.
Twitter: news and trending topics make Twitter a popular medium to exchange information on the latest topics, such as NFTs.
Linkedin: has a more formal, professional slant than other platforms.
Clubhouse: the audio-only platform has boomed during the pandemic and features ‘rooms’ where users can listen to thought-leaders as well as ‘raise a hand’ to join in the conversation.
With broad, multi-topic feeds, traditional social media platforms can sometimes feel fragmented and user may struggle find preferred community amongst the noise. Louise explained that it was her desire to find insight, advice, and guidance from art world peers that made her realise there was a need for a curated, art-specific platform.
Building an online community
How can the art world community connect online? To help answer that question Art Mavens has been working with focus groups to gather feedback and gain insight into how best to build a community from the ground up. They’ve identified a number of themes around which art professionals can connect, such as topic, profession/trade, organization, tech, alumni groups, and so on.
This research led to the creation of various groups tailored to Art Mavens members, including:
- Art Podcasts
- Art Insurance
- Anti-Money Laundering
- And more to come!
Using social media to find work
Working habits changed greatly during the pandemic, with many art professionals having to figure out how to perform their roles from home, rather than the office or fully equipped labs, studios, and workshops. Organizations too, have adapted with many now more open to the idea of hiring fully remote staff in permanent positions.
Responding to the changing landscape, Louise and Deborah knew the importance of keeping people connected and launched Art Mavens Pro, which focuses on connecting art world freelancers with organizations looking to hire talent.
Thank you to our guest speakers Louise Hamlin and Deborah Najar Jossa, Co-Founders of Art Mavens, for joining us.