LatinaLista — This week, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos had both the journalism industry and the art world abuzz. Bezos bought the Washington Post and, in the same week, launched on Amazon an online art gallery. While there is breathless expectation that Bezos will innovate a troubled journalism industry, the news of the online gallery doesn't inspire the same emotions.
Basically because Amazon isn't the only online art gallery, nor the first. Several other sites have been operating their own versions of an online art gallery but none have opened one like Patricia Prevatt's gallery.
In April, Patricia Prevatt launched the P-Squared Gallery — an online art gallery exclusively featuring contemporary Latin American and U.S. Latino artists.
Prevatt, who has a background in Latin American studies in both academia and the non-profit sector, had been talking with friends about creating such an online outlet for talented artists she met in her travels throughout Latin America and the U.S.
"Friends and I began talking about an online gallery of Latin American art back in 2008/2009," Prevatt replied in an email to Latina Lista. "We saw that it was difficult for some of the artists we knew to gain access to U.S. markets, but it wasn’t until the summer of 2012 that I was able to devote myself full time to the project. The delay ended up being in our favor; from 2009 to 2012 there were advancements in technology that now allow us to produce extremely high quality prints that, when framed, will last beautifully for more than 100 years."
The gallery — a creative twist on Prevatt's name — features a geographically diverse array of artwork ranging from Buenos Aires and Brasília to New York and Havana.
Always on the lookout for thought-provoking and high-quality art, Prevatt connects with artists via both traditional and high-tech routes. From attending art festivals, gallery openings and museum events to connecting online, Prevatt chooses artists who either have formal training or have been making a living from their artwork for a while.
Though 'hanging space' is virtually limitless in the online gallery, Prevatt is determined to not overdo it and commits to working with artists for a minimum of three years.
"While we don’t have a maximum number of featured artists, we do take pride in being a boutique site," Prevatt said. "We want visitors to the site to be able to connect with the artwork as well as the artists. Large sites featuring hundreds or even thousands of artists can really feel overwhelming and individual artists and artwork can get lost in a sea of images. We want to make sure that every artist has an opportunity to be front and center."
And because she has no overhead, Prevatt says she is also able to offer artists a more equitable split between herself and the artists. In addition to the original and creative artwork offered for sale on the online gallery, Prevatt offers a unique 2-for-1 deal to customers — buy a piece of artwork and have a percentage of every sale go towards the purchase of cameras, computers and other supplies used in art education programs.
Dubbed the P2 Art Alliance, the program is a way to create deeper connections among the artist, the buyer and local arts programs. Not to mention, it provides the necessary tools for emerging artists of the future.
Since the gallery's launch, Prevatt says the reception has been "fantastic!" She wants to expand her search for artists to Mexico and Puerto Rico and is even thinking of taking her gallery off-line with a "brick and mortar" location to provide a permanent space for exhibits and events.
In the meantime, Prevatt is open to hearing from artists who would like to be part of her online gallery.
"We are always excited to see new artwork," Prevatt wrote. "If an artist is interested in submitting their work, we ask that they send us an email with their name, location, brief resume, and 6 to 8 digital images of their work to firstname.lastname@example.org. We also welcome everyone to check out our call to artists (in both English and Spanish) on our Facebook page."
(Featured Photo: Rei do Pedaço (King of the Hill) by Brazilian artist Lucio Piantino)