Champion of independent artists and stockists of some of the biggest names in the art world, b Gallery is quickly becoming a household name among the art community, with the phenomenal success of its flagship art website bgallery.co.uk. Newly launched after twelve months in development, the sites interactive art directory is already filled with hundreds of artists, who each have their own online gallery, making it the UK’s fastest growing art directory.
b Gallery arts centre was established in Bedfordshire in 2009 and has developed into one of the most exciting arts venues in England, due in no small part to the enormous selection of original art available at direct-from-artist prices by talented independent artists. These artists are exhibited on b Gallery’s ‘art directory’, a Membership scheme which offers artists exhibition space on a hassle-free, commission-free basis. The popularity of this concept has inspired an art-world first; a social, active and incredibly easy-to-use online art network connecting artists and designers directly to buyers, publishers, agents and employers.
The success of the centre and newly launched website can be credited to b Gallery co-founders Melanie Burnell and Julie Boyle; two women whose incredible passion and vision led them to open a centre committed to supporting talented artists two years ago with nothing but a handful of artists and a dream. Without any funding or resources, except a small bank loan to pay the first few months rent, today the centre has a team of dedicated staff, represents hundreds of artists and has developed an outstanding reputation for promoting art in the community.
b Gallery co-founder Melanie Burnell says: “We exhibit selected independent artists openly on our art directory as b Gallery Members at our arts centre and now many more online. Artists are given ‘Approved b Gallery Member’ status, can be contacted by customers directly and have their own websites and social network blogs promoted alongside their work. Buyers can make purchases from all our Members without gallery-added-commission.”
Not long after opening the centre, artists and customers suggested the art directory should be replicated online. Melanie says: “We set about researching how customers were buying art online and how artists were promoting themselves. We discovered that as well as having their own websites, many artists are now using social networks to reach their customers. However, there weren’t any sites showcasing lots of artists together in an easy-to-use format. By developing bgallery.co.uk, there is now a site that we hope will pave the way for a new avenue to explore art. These are exciting times for artists and buyers; alongside visiting galleries, buyers of art are now only a click away from discovering a whole new world of exciting artists and their art.
“We are so proud of the success of bgallery.co.uk. Our art directory started with a handful of artists and has grown to several hundred. Going online with this concept now reaches even more artists and customers worldwide. It’s been amazing to see the growth of our art directory and the success it has brought to our artists both at the centre and online.”
Co-founder Julie Boyle says: “b Gallery is leading the way in online exhibiting. Art is selling online; it’s a rising market and we are passionate about raising the standard of exhibiting artists together online and creating an open culture, benefiting artists and buyers.”
“We are so impressed with what artists are achieving together online and we are passionate about encouraging buyers of art to explore this growing trend. Our way of exhibiting independent artists gives customers true value for art. With many artists having their own websites, customers know they can go direct without having to pay extra commission. What we have achieved is to bring selected and approved artists together in one place. We have a team of Talent Spotters who are dedicated to discovering more artists and designers to join our online art directory. They are making contacts all over the world to find new talent to exhibit on our site and new ones are joining every day.”
With the rise of social networks, the need for artists to use a site like this to promote themselves is very clear to see. Even before its launch, b Gallery’s Head of E-Marketing, Beverley Whayman was inundated with applications to join. She explains: “I had said on our Facebook page some months ago that we were looking for talented artists and designers to join our up-coming website. The response was phenomenal and meant that the launch was put back quite substantially whilst we went through all the applications!
“The talent out there is incredible – there are so many fantastic artists creating stunning work and we are absolutely dedicated to elevating their presence on the very best online art network. The site has been built with incredibly easy-to-use functionality where customers can connect with approved independent artists and designers, buy direct, enjoy a new experience each visit and use optimised search tools to customise their searches.”