We regret to announce that CharlestonArtShop.com is closed indefinitely. :(
We wish to thank all those who supported us over the past 2 years, especially the 105 artists who signed up, and most especially the 49 artists and 15 photographers who are currently active members. During this time, we had over 214,000 page views from tens of thousands of website visitors to over 2,000 artwork listings and sold thousands of dollars of art. Unfortunately, we we were not able to grow CharlestonArtShop.com to a sustainable level and have exhausted our resources.
Our mission was "to promote and sell original artwork made by South Carolina artists". This was accomplished by the creation of an online art gallery to provide local artists a platform to showcase and sell their artwork. There was very little to no curation of artwork and artist memberships in order to give equal access to all artists seeking exposure - both those who may already be exhibiting in a traditional art gallery and those just starting out. Artist members were given a profile page, access to create their own artwork listings, manage their own orders, and track their sales and views through reports. All forms of art were accepted: originals, prints/reproductions, digital, and music.
Meeting Our Goals
The goal was to harness the synergies of the group and grow an online community. Each new artist who joined would help bring art enthusiasts to a single website where they could discover other local artists. It was enhanced with marketing and advertising efforts, including:
- the creation of social media pages to share on Facebook, Pinterest, Google+, and Imgur
- placing advertisements with Art Mag, Charleston Artist Guild, Google AdWords, Facebook Ads, and Craigslist
- posting on Facebook, Pinterest, Google+, Imgur, Instagram, TheDigital, Reddit, StumbleUpon, and Patch
- distributing an artist catalog, brochures, flyers, stickers, and business cards
- offering featured ad listings, ad banners, and sidebar ads on the website to our artist members
- emailing our newsletter periodically
- participating in local events such as the Open Arts Expo, Second Sunday on King Street, Art Fields
- hosting our own private art shows in supplied locations
- posting every new artwork listing on the home page to give every artist the opportunity to display artwork on the front page
- offering no signup fee and no monthly membership fees
- eliminating the commission rate charged on sales
We were not able to overcome the challenges we faced in trying to achieve our mission and goals.
- We expanded to include membership to all SC artists after artist membership was very slow to grow locally in the Charleston area
- We reached out to many other local arts organizations (established and new, private and public) for cross-promotion and cross-branding opportunities, but none other than Charleston Regional Alliance for the Arts responded positively
- We reached out to local news organizations like the Charleston City Paper and the Moultrie News, but none were interested to run a story on us and only wanted to sell expensive advertising space
- We tried to set up in the street for Second Sunday on King Street, but King Street Marketing Group, who runs it for the city of Charleston, required $1,000 fee per day to participate
- We hit the streets with marketing materials, but they were mysteriously repeatily stolen from some of the most popular sites like the Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art
- We, four times, looked into opening a physical location or partnering with an organization with an existing physical space to display art, but talks fell through each time
- We changed the layout and pages in response to some artists who expressed hesitation to be part of a community with other artists who they deemed inferior
- We saw little to no participation from our artists on our social media sites
We hope that we can find someone or some organization with better connections and more resources to take over from here. The ideal candidate will have experience in sales, marketing, and business development. For more information, please see http://www.charlestonartshop.com/new-direction.