Meet the Curator
Posted on 18 April 2017
A Major Announcement from our NEW Chief Curator, Nicole Kroger: The Blink Art Online Marketplace
Whew! The past four months since I joined the ADC and Blink Art family have been hectic! But, I’m finally dusting off my newbie status and am ready to show off what I’ve been up to!
First, I want to thank all the Blink Art artists I’ve gotten to know so far – who have given me such a warm and gracious welcome! I can’t wait to get to know more of our artists and to work with the ADC/Blink Art team to better represent their work and passion.
Prior to arriving at ADC in December 2016, I spent over a decade at the Cincinnati Art Museum (CAM). While there, I managed CAM’s website and digital collections, publishing digitized artwork and educational content to audiences across the globe. I also spent a great deal of time working for the education team, developing educational materials for digital use, including Google Arts & Culture. As far as the paperwork goes, I’m a graduate of the University of Cincinnati’s College of Design, Architecture, Art and Planning with a B.A. in Art History (go Bearcats!). I spent my undergraduate career focusing on contemporary art of the African diaspora, but those eccentric Dutch masters also hold a special place in my heart.
So, back to the present! My first tasks since joining the team were to redesign the ADC and Blink Art websites, allowing for a better user experience and making our art more accessible to a wider range of audiences. Check out the sites and let me know how I did and what I can continue to improve! Soon, we’ll also be launching Curated by Blink, the straight-to-consumer print catalog which will be distributed quarterly to residences across the country! Sign up to receive the catalog.
Learn a little more about me in the interview below with our company founder and president, Litsa Spanos!
LS: You’re so prolific. You come in and work without stopping. What you’ve been able to accomplish in four months is just amazing. What motivates you every day?
NK: Art motivates me. Serving artists motivates me. I can’t remember a time I didn’t love art. When I took an art history class in high school, and found out I could build a career working with art, I knew right then and there I wanted to spend my life dedicated to it. It’s all I’ve ever wanted to do. In fact, everywhere I’ve ever worked have been places where I'm surrounded by art and artists. I need to be surrounded by art.
LS: You’ve been tasked with an incredibly large job. Could you explain what it your role as a Chief Curator entails?
NK: First and foremost, I was tasked with creating an online storefront for Blink Art that offers EXCLUSIVE artists’ works to the residential buyer and consumer. Designers will still have a special login and access to the artists, as they currently do with Blink Art Resource, but now, anyone, anywhere, has the opportunity to buy artworks directly from ADC and Blink Art. Since the works are exclusive, it means the artists aren’t selling the selected pieces anywhere else. They can only be purchased through Blink Art. I’ve also been carefully selecting artworks from our Blink Art Resource artists and including them in our print catalog, Curated by Blink Art, which will go out to 11,000 residences—four times a year. The catalog will also feature behind the scenes artists’ stories, design inspiration, and much more.
LS: What’s been one of your biggest challenges (beside the technical issues, of course)?
NK: When you’re working with digital collections, it’s not just about “uploads” and “data.” It’s actually about making sure the art and artists are represented accurately and telling the story of the artists behind the works. Every artist and every piece of art has a story, and it’s my job, as the curator, to tell that story and to make sure audiences understand each work’s complexity. Sure, most people are looking at work because it appeals to them, or they want something beautiful. But, people also want to hear the story behind it. As a curator, my job is to help the consumer/client/viewer make necessary connections and help them discover pieces they would never have known about. Tastes are subjective. Not everyone likes the same work. My task is to help every single person find the perfect piece for them. Another thing I’ll be doing is Live Chats with buyers. I’ll be here during business hours, available in real time to help buyers make connections and answer any of their questions or concerns.
LS: In case people are confused about why the storefront is called Blink Art, could you explain the Blink and ADC relationship?
NK: ADC is our parent company, our Mama Bird, if you will. It has a 25-year history of art consulting for design trade professionals, corporate and residential buyers. ADC has always been about helping people to create beautiful spaces. ADC launched the annual Blink Art Resource publication three years ago to help its artists’ works get in the hands of trade professionals. The corresponding website furthered that connection between professional art buyers and artists. The new Blink Art website and Curated by Blink Art catalogs are an extension of that—in that now we’re putting a catalog together for residential and private collectors. In a nutshell: the new Blink Art is our juggernaut of a website for both professionals and everyday, individual buyers.
Artists can register to be a Blink Art member. We are constantly accepting new work for Blink Art and the online marketplace. They can provide both exclusive and non-exclusive work to our site (non-exclusive work, means the artist maintains independent sales rights). Exclusive artwork, however, has the opportunity to be featured in the Curated residential catalog, and are available for direct sale online. We handle all the mailing, and the artists maintain a competitive commission. Another key advantage is that we’ll be increasing our digital advertising to promote our artists and their work. It’s an incredible opportunity for artists. If you’re an artist, and you haven’t registered yet, don’t worry. Our first catalog goes out in May, but we’ll be sending another one in August, so there is always time to submit work!
LS: Thank you so much for Nicole for sitting down with me. And for all you do for ADC/Blink.
NK: It’s my pleasure! And if anyone has any more questions and wants to talk, they can reach out to me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. I love to talk to artists and collectors. I really love how art always starts a conversation. There is nothing like art to get people talking and making connections with each other.