Art Plug: The startup helping local artists make money during pandemic

Posted at 6:19 PM, Jul 10, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-10 19:19:18-04

OMAHA, Neb. — The local art scene took a huge financial hit during the pandemic, as many artists rely on in-person shows for revenue. One local startup is stepping up to help.

There's sites to connect local businesses, local people, but not something in the local area that strictly focused on art. One local art curator took it upon himself to make those connections between artists and art buyers. Xavier Jackson created Art Plug, an online platform for artists to sell their work.

Art Plug takes interested buyers and connects them with local artists, like Luke Armstrong.

"It's a really necessary piece to help people facilitate the sale of [the artist's] work," he said.

At first Jackson just wanted to help connect the local art scene. But when the pandemic hit, he noticed just how much artists were struggling.

Inside Armstrong's gallery and work space Cali Commons the art lives. But the pandemic has limited his exposure.

"The way that artists earn revenue is through in-person shows and gallery exhibits. With the pandemic you don't want to spread anything, you don't want to get anyone infected," Jackson said.

So the art shows came to a halt, as did revenue for many artists.

"So what we've been trying to do is find ways for them to earn a living from home and sustain their practice through a virtual platform that will connect them with an audience that will support their work," Jackson said.

Now it's all about displaying work virtually, selling art virtually and making those connections. Art Plug wants the local art scene to survive the pandemic and to be used as a tool to heal.

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