How it all started with Sixteen Gallery
Sixteen Gallery opened in Montpellier, Cheltenham in the summer of 2021 as an artist run rentable exhibition space in an area that would soon be dubbed the Montpellier Art Quarter.
Artists are able to rent the space for one or two weeks and steward an exhibition of their own work without paying commission on any of the work sold. At least twice a year we have also hosted curated exhibitions around a specific theme, encouraging both emerging and established artists to submit work to the show for free. We only take a small commission of 25% and only if the work is sold, bucking the trend of more traditional galleries, whose commission is often much higher.
With this, we have helped numerous artists make the leap to becoming full time artists through first-time solo shows or collaborative exhibitions with like minded creatives.
Our ethos has always been to support as many artists as possible along their journey navigating the challenges of being a professional artist. We have kept weekly rent for the gallery space competitive and any commission taken as low as possible, dedicating as many weeks as available to free shows and open competitions.
However with only a limited number of weeks each year we are unable to showcase all the artists we would like so have developed Sixteen Online as a space artists can showcase and promote their work, all year round, as they build towards their next exciting exhibition.
So what is Sixteen Online?
Sixteen Online is an online artist database,
that helps emerging and established artists connect directly
with art buyers and other artists by providing a searchable community of personalised profiles.
Its a one stop shop for finding your next favourite artwork and a space which quickly and easily allows you to contact any of the incredible artists on the database directly.
What's stopping you?
Promoting yourself as a lone artist can be a minefield.
You’re facing a highly saturated marketplace of worldwide creators and its easy to get lost amongst the sea of other artists, casual users and businesses using the platform for advertising.
If you choose to work with a more traditional gallery, either physical or online, you are often subject to exclusivity agreements or increasingly high commissions.
The buyers, that galleries are able to sell your work to, are often kept on hidden mailing lists making it difficult to build strong and meaningful relationships with the people who fall in love with your work.
Yet to promote yourself effectively in this modern digital era, you also need a strong online presence. Many choose to build their own websites and utilise social media, but this too has its challenges.
Websites can be expensive, complicated and difficult to create and maintain, and social media forces you to battle the mysterious and ever-changing algorithm to find new followers.
Its a disconnected and isolating world for a solo artists and we want to create an online space that challenges these ideas.
How can Sixteen Online help?
Artists and buyers alike can search the database for artwork and get instant access to the contact details of the artist.
As a creator you are able to promote your most recent work quickly and easily, displaying it in a streamlined, professional and easy to edit profile. We remove the necessity for a difficult to design and maintain website through our simple online form that highlights what you need to fill in and what images to submit and where.
Once uploaded, your profile is automatically generated without having to worry about alignment, fonts, and frustrating layout issues.
Your contact info is prominently and clearly displayed and with a click of a button a buyer can send you an email with sales enquiries or any questions about your work. Unlike other online galleries, we eliminate any commission taken from any artwork sold as buyers contact the artists directly. You keep 100% of the commission. This allows you to begin building a mailing list of your own and nurturing those relationships with buyers who love your work.
Anyone visiting the site will be able to search through the database at their leisure for artists names, styles, artist medium or techniques.
Results will be displayed in a grid of thumbnails that buyers can scroll through to find work that catches their eye. We will never fill the space with distracting and irritating advertising which we know puts off so many when searching for new work online.
How do we do things differently?
The website is supported through monthly membership from artists.
Artists are able to choose a subscription package that works best for them and help fund a community of artists that support one another. This allows us to pool the resources of the community giving us the freedom to create advertising campaigns and host events that would often be far too expensive for an individual artist to afford.
Similarly we are able to showcase your work to a far greater audience than you may be able to reach on your own. Buyers are able to trust the already recognised brand of Sixteen Gallery and you are able to build on that reputation without being tied exclusively to us.
As the community grows we will also be able to reach out to other businesses in the creative world we think can help you as an artist. Art suppliers, framers, graphic designers, PR and marketing specialists who can use our platform to offer you discounts on their services, all of which are vital to promote yourself effectively as a professional full time artist.
So how much is membership then?
That’s the best bit! We’ve been able to develop a product that keeps costs as low as possible for you as the artist. Membership works out at only £10 a month but you even get a discount for choosing to buy into the community for longer, paying yearly results in membership costing under £8.50 a month.
As mentioned before we can then use a proportion of this membership fee to go towards developing advertising, organising events, creating new promotions and direct marketing for our artists. Similarly as our community grows we can support you further with discounts and offers from art suppliers and framers which we know can be a huge expense for artists.
Andy, Arthur and Ellie
All three of us are artists and designers, who are all part of the community too
(click on our work to check out our profiles below!)
Sixteen gallery was set up by Andy and his son Arthur as a place to show their own work when it was not being rented out to other artists. They wanted to create a space that supported new artists and could act as a springboard for those wanting to make the leap into becoming full time artists.
With the hope of extending that ethos to a larger audience Ellie came on board to develop Sixteen Online into what you see now. We hope as the community grows we can grow our team with it, to help support more and more artists find an audience for the work they love to create and share.