Art Dealer Expands Audience With Webcasts

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Online art merchant ArtMecca.com is carrying Webcasts over the next month of four events from the prestigious Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco to bring the upscale art world to the mass audience of the Internet.


"Yerba Buena is a perfect match for us because we are both approaching art buyers in a friendly and unintimidating environment," said Steven Rubenfaer, vice president of marketing at ArtMecca.com, San Francisco. "We want people to buy art because they like it, not because it is the 'hot' new piece."


Although some of ArtMecca's art is expensive, Rubenfaer said ArtMecca's target market is "anyone who lives with four walls around them that they want to decorate. We see ourselves as an all-age and all-income inclusive art dealer." One advantage for attracting such a wide demographic is Yerba Buena's history of pushing the boundaries of what is considered art and opening its doors to anyone who wants to see it.


"People come to ArtMecca because they can buy art but also because there is cutting-edge stuff going on," Rubenfaer said. "From a marketing standpoint, to be able to say we are the exclusive Webcast provider for Yerba Buena is really the kind of brand association we are looking for. They are well-known and respected within the art world for their progressive ideas and exhibits. But they are also known as being an unpretentious source of new art."


The Webcasts began May 12 with a three-hour opening night gala. The remaining Webcasts will feature a multimedia demonstration by video artist Patty Chang, a room installation by artist John Woodhall and a celebration of 25 years of San Francisco's "Open Studios" project, which showcases emerging artists.


All of the Webcasts will be archived.


None of the shows will sell art; though, some of the artists featured already have their pieces for sale on ArtMecca's site. Rubenfaer said officials from Yerba Buena did not feel comfortable pushing the Webcast exhibitions as e-commerce driven, so there will be no links or banners bringing viewers to these pieces.


ArtMecca is marketing the Webcasts through only the press and word of mouth.


"We are an e-commerce site that sells art, but we are also a resource portal for people interested in art," said Rubenfaer. "We feel that word of mouth and the reputation of Yerba Buena is enough to get people coming to the site and boost our name and image."
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