In spite of art’s lofty goal of being a sort of universal language — applicable, accessible, and pertinent to anyone and everyone — the simple and sad truth of the matter is that it simply … well, isn’t. The National Endowment for the Arts’ (NEA) Survey of Public Participation in the Arts has revealed that art museum attendance has slipped 21 percent since its peak, with the younger generation of Americans (between the ages of 19 and 44) among the least-interested group. And as deplorable as it is, it’s hard to blame them — the art world has established itself as a decidedly highbrow institution, one that is somewhat impenetrable and impervious to the common man, the average American. But now, one app is looking to change that. Meet Kollecto, your “art-buying mentor” that insists, “You don’t have to be rich to collect art.”
It’s a novel concept, but one that is desperately needed in a time when appreciation for the arts as a whole seems to be sliding at a rather alarming pace. Tara Reed, the founder of Kollecto, certainly understands the need for an inviting approach when it comes not only to appreciating, but patronizing these creative masterpieces. And that’s where Kollecto comes in. First, you’re invited to choose the type of art you like — no need to know the definitions of chiaroscuro or be able to differentiate between futurism and Bauhaus, just decide if you like photography, abstract art, street art, or any other easily identifiable genre.
Then, perhaps most importantly, you can set your budget, anywhere from $100 to $3,000. Not only does Kollecto then search the Web for pieces you might enjoy (and fit within your price range), but it also offers you a chance to learn about collecting art and the pieces you’re interested in. You can rate each piece to help Kollecto learn more about your tastes, and then over time, Kollecto becomes your personalized art buyer and teacher.
In explaining her impetus for beginning Kollecto, Reed, a former Microsoft employee, told Tech.co, “I get recommendations from Spotify when I wanted to hear music, I get recommendations from Neflix when I want to watch a good indie film, and I get recommendations from StitchFix when I need fashion inspiration. But there was no where to get recommendations for art. So I felt like there was a real need for what I was building with Kollecto — a recommendation service for affordable artwork.”
Reed’s goal, then, is to change the alarming statistic that “20 percent of people think buying art is more intimidating than buying real estate.” And with Kollecto, it certainly looks as though she’s on the right track.
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