applications wanted, selling art online democratrized

Applications deadline Wednesday for first Joplin Festival of Arts

Applications are being accepted for the first annual Joplin Festival for the Arts.

The art event, scheduled Saturday, Sept. 19, will be a one-day outdoor festival designed to promote both the visual and performing arts. Downtown Joplin’s Main Street will house many visual artist booths as well as a stage for performing artists. Booths will also be available for children’s art activities, nonprofit arts-related organizations and food vendors.

The application deadline is midnight Wednesday or until all booths are filled. The deadline is for artist applications.

The event will be sponsored by area Kiwanis Club, Joplin Regional Artists Coalition, Connect2Culture and the George A. Spiva Center for the Arts. It will be held in Downtown Joplin from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. It is free and open to the public, and regional artists will pay a small entry fee to compete for major prizes.

Juried fine artists will have booths along Main Street from Fourth to Sixth streets. Many local galleries and arts organizations will have information about classes, memberships, upcoming events, as well as future opportunities for interested artists. Daytime activities will be family focused with children’s art opportunities being provided by Spiva Center for the Arts and Art Feeds. In addition, a community art project for all ages will be led by Connect2Culture.

Kiwanis International will have a beer garden. The performing arts stage will feature a variety of styles of music and dance throughout the festival. Music will continue on the stage until 10 p.m.

For artist applications visit the website at

Details and applic

t’s the 57th year for Art Fair on the Square, put on by the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art. It’s a family friendly event that many return to every year.

“We have a really dynamic kids area. There’s a lot of different activities, hands on art activities,” said Erika Monroe-Kane, Madison Museum of Contemporary Art.

This is Jaana Mattson’s second year showing her needle felted wool landscapes.

“I’ve had a lifelong passion for landscape and really have never liked painting, so this has been my way of approaching the subject matter that I love so much,” said Mattson.

She says the fair on the square is different than any show she’s been to.

“There are cities — Chicago, Minneapolis — where there are art fairs overlapping every weekend and it’s just people here approach it as something special,” said Mattson.

The Art Fair on the Square also runs on Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.


Art for everyman, a startup’s democratization of the art world

No longer the playground of the elite, art galleries and auction houses are becoming more democratized, all thanks to the internet.

Add to that the spread of online payment systems in the Arab world and you have a sector of ecommerce dedicated to selling art. Online art galleries like Saatchi Art, Bitcoin-exclusive gallery Cointemporary and New Blood Art gallery for emerging artists are a few examples.

In this context, the beta version of Pavilion33 was launched in March as a market or platform for art that is available to all, with a particular focus on emerging markets like MENA.

After her graduation from Flat6Labs in June, Wamda had a chat with Pavilion33’s cofounder and CEO Valerie Konde.

After being raised in Senegal and living in various foreign countries, the art lover came to Dubai four years ago. “While looking for a piece for a friend of mine, I didn’t know where to start looking,” Konde told Wamda. “Dealing with art galleries was tough because they want to make money first. They care about selling a $15,000 piece instead of wasting their time on less expensive pieces.”
Valerie Konde pitches her concept as part of Flat6Labs’ first graduation batch. (Images via Pamela Kesrouani)

Bartering for works of art

In their bid to make art accessible to all, Pavilion33 offers three kinds of services: purchasing, renting and trading.

“These services are interconnected,” explains Konde. “If you like a certain piece but you don’t feel like buying it, we give you a chance to rent it. Then, if you love it, you can buy it, and if not, then we can send you another piece.”

Equally, if you’re bored with a piece that you already own, and perhaps it doesn’t fall into the required categories of auction houses in the region, like Sotheby’s or Christies, you can take it to the startup to be rented out, or traded for another piece.

Because of its more competitive prices, which can range from $1,000 to $2,000, the ecommerce platform has started attracting art lovers.

In fact, Konde prefers that “paintings do not exceed $10,000, which is the average amount of online payment exchange”. She said previous experience has taught her most people don’t like to spend so much money in online transactions.

Konde plans to generate profit from a commission of 15 to 25 percent on the art pieces sold. In the meantime, she is relying on her personal funds, as well the investment received from Flat6Labs.

Early signs of success

Despite being in beta mode, Pavilion33 has had deals made with customers in the US and the UK, as well as partnerships with various galleries across the globe, including Lebanon, Tunisia, to Ivory Coast, Mozambique and Paris. “We want to build solid relationships with galleries all over the world so they can become our ambassadors,” said Konde.

To bring these ambitions to life, Konde wanted to surround herself with a strong team that will allow her to offer various services concerning online galleries. Her cofounder, museum director Olivier Varenne, brings more than 15 years of experience in the art dealing domain. Her other cofounder, Anne-Helene Decaux, deals with the practical matters of acquiring art works and making deals with art curators from around the world. She also has a group of experts who have helped during her time at Flat6Labs.
Buying, renting and trading art pieces.

Delivery, payments and other obstacles

One of the main logistical challenges in the team’s entrepreneurial journey was delivering and securing the paintings.

“The delivering [of paintings] was the main challenge, especially when it came to renting them from the UAE, because you can’t send paintings to any country […] because of the high prices.”

As such they are looking to push their focus more on companies instead of individuals.

Another measure taken to tighten up on money was to eliminate cash-on-delivery, not surprising given the amounts of money involved. “And since our more important client base is abroad, we’ve figured out a way to have zero bounce rates (return rates) through cooperating with a British company that handles operations and wiring money to [UAE],” adds Konde.

Despite the rising number of online galleries, Konde doesn’t consider galleries like Emergeast or Rise Art to be competitors, as they offer different services and a different business model altogether.

The future plans for Pavilion33? To become a peer-to-peer marketplace that allows direct exchange between customers and art galleries, while the team gets busy with evaluating, certifying and analyzing works of art. Until this happens though, Konde and her partners have their sights set on making their platform the Airbnb of of art.

Pamela worked for seven years at the Arabic channel of France 24 in Paris. She recently moved to the region and works as a journalist and translator for  several online media portals. She can be followed on Twitter @poumk13.

Bemis Center seeking artist submissions for exhibition, auction

The Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts is putting out an open call for submissions from local, regional and national artists to participate in its 17th annual art auction and exhibition set for 6 p.m. Nov. 21.

Sales and donations from the auction and exhibition are reinvested in the Bemis Center to provide financial and practical support to artists year round.

The evening will include a silent and live auction with 250 works of art from top artists, juried by Alex Priest, exhibitions manager; Ellina Kevorkian, Bemis artistic director for residency programs; and Larry Roots, Modern Arts Midtown gallery director.

New this year, artists living within a 100-mile radius of Omaha who are accepted into the auction will be automatically considered for the 2016 Juried Exhibition Award. Bemis Center’s exhibitions team— Priest, Kevorkian and Nicole J. Caruth, artistic director for exhibitions and public engagement—will select 10 artists to be included in a group exhibition on the main floor of the Bemis Center in 2016.

To participate in the open call, artists must submit work through the Bemis SlideRoom portal at, along with a $5 application processing fee. Artists may submit up to two works for review and to be considered for the auction. The deadline for submissions is July 31. Artists will receive a 30 percent commission for sold artwork, unless they choose to donate 100 percent of the proceeds to the Bemis Center.

The auction and exhibition will be held at the Bemis Center’s Old Market location at 12th and Leavenworth streets. Admission costs and other details will be available in August.

Selected auction artwork will be on display in a two-week preview exhibition Nov. 11–20 during the Bemis Center’s regular opening hours, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday, with free admission. Artists selected for participation will receive invitations to exclusive preview parties.

Valerie Konde

Entrepreneur & Digital Strategy Consultant

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