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Amanda van Gils is an artist based in Brisbane Australia. She is the founder of an online gallery - ART500 representing selected professional Australian Artists. ART500 is designed to encourage more people to move into Art ownership, and to provide income for Artists. We have conducted an interview with Amanda.

When did you decide on the founding of the online gallery ART500?
I had the idea for ART500 for at least 5 years. I know many people who don’t buy art because it’s too expensive and so many talented artists struggling to find buyers. At the same time there has been an explosion of online art sites offering thousands of works of dubious quality. I wanted to create a way for people to connect with Art in a way that was simple and accessible but of proven quality. Offering quality at a low price point seemed like a reasonable place to start.

How do you make ART500 sustainable?
It is a small enterprise still in its early days. Being sustainable financially is more aspirational at this stage.

What is the selection criteria of the artists in this online gallery?
Quality of work is the primary criteria. ART500 only represents a small number of artists to ensure a consistently high quality and to ensure the site is easy to navigate. The artists involved are all professional artists with exhibiting history and formal qualifications. We have artists who have won major prizes, received public art commissions, had work acquired for public galleries, so the quality is very high. Mostly they have been working as artists for between 10 and 30+ years.

Why do you think Art ownership should be encouraged?
Art is a balm for the soul. Art helps us to see the world differently, to express something about who we are. Looking at Art you enjoy has even been scientifically proven to reduce pain. Art can bring happiness and buying art helps to support the continuation of creative practice. Buying art supports artists directly, allowing them to continue with their creative process, supporting the creative life of a nation, improving the quality of life for all of us.

There are many people who don’t feel ‘allowed’ to buy Art, that it is somehow self-indulgent. This has made it harder for people to enjoy the experience of Art ownership.

Which is the price range of the art collected in this gallery?
As the name suggests, all art works are $500AUD or less. This was a deliberate strategy to encourage more people to move from admiring Art in galleries, magazines and on the internet, to bringing art into their homes and workplaces. $500 is a low price point for original art work and the artists and I work together to make this possible.

ART500 Reviewed by JaamZIN on 7:34:00 PM Rating: 5
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