artfinds.me is a two-year pilot project that explores new ways to connect audiences with the visual arts, funded by the Canada Council for the Arts’ Digital Strategy Fund.
Our goal is to develop an innovative digital platform (aka app) that enables art lovers to effortlessly discover all the incredible art and art experiences around them. And to enhance the ability of artists to cultivate a financially viable practice.
Project oversight is provided by 10 representatives of Vancouver Island arts councils and arts-based organizations.
Want to help user test the app in the spring of 2021? Send us your contact info.
About this project: two-year Canada Council Grant (Mar 2020 to Dec 2022)
In March 2020, we received a grant from the Canada Council for the Arts Digital Strategy fund to continue our explorations of new ways to connect art lovers with art. We’re now embarking on a two-year pilot project, with the goal of building an app/digital platform that embeds visual art into every day life, and expands opportunities for audiences to connect with art and artist. Click on the accordion below to learn about our project team. Questions? Please contact project lead Jenny Farkas at [email protected]
Phase 1 research findings, including survey summary
Summary of Phase 1 Research Findings
Our research and discovery phase took place between March and June of 2020, during the peak Covid19 sheltering in place period. The purpose of this phase was to validate research conducted over the past three years, and identify emerging insights due to the Covid19 sheltering in place requirement. Input was gathered from hour-long phone interviews with 10 artists and non-artists, and from 277 English and 50 French speaking Canadians who completed a detailed questionnaire. Full questionnaire results in accordion further down this page.
Before Covid19, we had already identified an interest in digital tools that offered new ways for audiences to discover visual artists and vice versa. And we knew that visual artists generally were late adopters to technology and could benefit from innovative approaches to digitizing and monetizing their creative offerings. The global pandemic served to reinforce and accelerate these early findings.
Four key findings and platform design implications
Insight 1: Engaging in art experiences is often a highly personal activity
Most research participants prefer to engage with visual art in person (e.g. galleries and art events), by themselves or with 1-2 companions. Only a small number of respondents indicated a preference for primarily accessing art-based content online. Additionally, the main motivation for purchasing art products and experiences was expressed as ‘personal appreciation’ which reinforces the intimate nature of this activity. This finding will be integrated into our user experience design process.
Insight 2: Relationship building and social networking are vital parts of the selling process
Most research participants find out about artists or art activities through social media, word-of-mouth, or promotional content (e.g. flyers/hand bills or emails). Once initial connections are made, it is necessary to cultivate and nurture these relationships in order to realize a financial transaction. By way of example, the sale of an original piece of art has a relationship building cycle of close to one year, while the sale of art products (e.g. prints) has a shorter cycle of approximately one month.
As a ray of hope, in spite of the significant sales declines experienced by most artists during the sheltering in place period, some artists who already had a strong digital presence and fan base prior to Covid19 have reported the same or increased levels of sales during the pandemic. This finding will inform the development of user engagement tools (e.g. email marketing integration).
Insight 3: A strong impetus to “buy local” in-person isn’t replicated on-line
Most research participants tend to favour local or Canadian artists for in-person experiences such as art lessons, tours, talks and purchases (81-100%). In contrast, of the small number of participants who pay for arts-based content online, only a small percentage (0-20%) of this spending goes to local sources. This finding signals an opportunity to create demand for local art experiences online, and accessible, tiered content (e.g. freemium).
Insight 4: A strong need exists for new, intuitive digital visual arts initiatives
Many survey respondents identified as avid art lovers, with a pre-Covid19 pattern of engaging with visual art activities at least four times a week. During the Covid19 sheltering in place period, many reported missing the social dynamic of viewing art in galleries or studios. The majority expressed a disinterest in the use of current technology to engage with visual art, stating barriers such as a lack of digital literacy, and/or a lack of satisfaction with the online experiences.
In spite of these constraints, respondents indicated an increased interest in exploring digitally based arts events and content during Covid19. This interest has the potential to be sustaining, as many respondents expressed an unwillingness /concern to re-enter physical spaces once restrictions are lifted. Assuming there is a latent demand to get back to engaging in art “four times a week”, this finding reinforces a desire for new digital initiatives that reduce friction and enhance user experiences.
Questions? Contact project lead Jenny Farkas at [email protected]
Our project team and service providers
Our power-packed team includes visual artists, strategic marketing experts, and digital/print advertising and search engine optimization specialists.
Visual artist Jenny Farkas is the creator of artfinds.me. And for the past 20 years she has also been the Content Director at Taiji Brand Group.
Arts Councils Advisory Committee
- Kathy Holmes and Ora Steyn, Arts Council of Ladysmith and District
- Kera McHugh, Comox Valley Arts
- Janet Magdanz, Cowichan Valley Arts Council
- Carol Fergusson, Gabriola Arts Council
- Logan Ford, Jason Guille and Nev Gibson Victoria Arts Promotion and Preservation Society
- Kirsten Schrader and Ashley Foot, Arts and Culture, Cowichan Valley Regional District
Technical Advisory Committee
- Mike Hallatt, Lead Programmer
- Nev Gibson, Indivision
- Zachariah Crow, Taiji Brand Group
- Keith Farkas, VMWare
Marketing Advisory Committee
- Caroll Taiji and Nik West, Taiji Brand Group
- Margaret Lam and Amine El, Octagram
- Jenifer Chilcott, Farris Law
- Steve Hutchison, Treehouse Media
- Sonia Isaacson, Summit Bookkeeping Services
In 2019 we partnered with The Print Lab for our art reproductions. Owner Terry Zlot has over 20 years of printing experience in the photographic and art production markets. Not only will your prints be produced right here in Victoria, but every print will be of the highest standard.
We also collaborate with economic development associations, arts councils and art schools.
Questions? Email Jenny at [email protected]
Go where artists go. Discover stunning art.
June 2020 survey press release: Has COVID19 changed your visual art enjoyment habits?
We want to understand how art enthusiasts have been interacting with visual art and artists during COVID19. This survey, which ran during the month of June, was developed by a group of Vancouver Island arts councils (see next accordion), and will contribute to emerging knowledge about how new, isolation-inspired habits might influence future art audiences and marketplaces.
The survey is part of a two-year pilot project to identify new ways to connect audiences with the visual arts, funded in early March by the Canada Council for the Arts’ Digital Strategy Fund.
Our findings will be made publicly available on this website, in support of the visual arts community’s rebuilding efforts.
Sondage communiqué Juin 2020 : La COVID-19 a-t-elle modifié de quelque façon le plaisir de la découverte de l'art visuel ?
Nous voulons comprendre comment les amateurs d’art ont interagi avec l’art visuel et les artistes au cours de la pandémie. Cette enquête, qui a couru pendant le mois de juin, a été élaborée par un groupe de conseils des arts de l’île de Vancouver (détails dans la prochaine communication), et contribuera aux connaissances émergentes sur la manière dont de nouvelles habitudes inspirées par le confinement pourraient influencer les futurs publics et marchés de l’art.
L’enquête s’inscrit dans un projet pilote de deux ans visant à identifier de nouvelles façons de connecter les publics aux arts visuels, financé début mars par le fonds Stratégie numérique du Conseil des Arts du Canada.
Nos conclusions seront rendues publiques sur ce site Web afin de soutenir les efforts de reprise de la communauté des arts visuels.
We are grateful for the generous support from the Canada Council for the Arts – Digital Strategy Fund. This ground breaking fund is transforming the arts sector in Canada, and catapulting the Vancouver Island visual arts sector forward in previously unforeseen and magnificent ways.