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    Steve Jobs – Stay hungry, stay foolish.
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14 January, 2014

Blog: Art and retail, a good marriage

It seems a somewhat unusual combination. Art and retail. Art is all about original authentic crafts, creativity, and the word ‘commerce’ is, in many cases, unknown. Traditionally, retail is about mass production, efficiency and results. Yet on both sides there are several developments. As a result of which  art and retail are more and more interwoven.


Art used to be destined for a limited audience. Nowadays art is getting more accessible to the masses. In the recent years, the popularity of Art Nights  increased. Unique crossovers between visual art, music, film, theatre, literature, dance and multimedia are experienced here by a diverse, relatively young audience. The success behind the Art Nights is a new generation of artists who are not afraid to experiment with combinations of art forms. They have an eye for commerce without losing their creativity.

The retail landscape is  changing. More and more the  main shopping  areas are starting to look alike   Independent retailers and smaller retail chains can, partly because of falling sales, no longer pay their rent and disappear from the prime locations whereas  the large (inter)national chains  do have the resources to settle there instead. As a  result  many independent retailers and smaller retail chains disappear from the streets forever. However, some of them settle around the major shopping streets. These streets are increasingly developing into unique shopping streets and shopping areas where one can shop and also eat, drink, recreate and experience.


A great example of where art and retail are interwoven is the  The 9 Streets area , a collective name for the nine scenic shopping streets around Amsterdam’s canals. At the beginning of the nineties it was a businesswoman, Djoeke Wessing, who took lead at creating the 9 Streets as a shopping area with its own name and fame. From her shop Art Deco, she noticed  there were some great streets around the Amsterdam’s channels but that there was little collectivity . Under her leadership, an entrepreneurial association was established and the area developed itself into a diverse and unique environment . In addition to the shops, restaurants and bars, there is much more to discover. In particular art is relevant for this area. For example, Felix Meritis, the European center for art, culture and science and the Canal Museum  are settled in this area. The entrepreneurs  also embrace art. Art galleries and studios can be found here, and on a regular base pop-up stores are opened where fashion , design and art come together. Finally, in many of the shops one can admire paintings and art objects, often listed with the contact details of the respective artist.


Pop-up stores are not only found in The 9 Streets. In almost every shopping area one of more pop-up stores can or could be found. Sometimes purely commercial, but often experimental where product, design, art and experience come together. Also, pop-up galleries can often be found in such retail areas. They fit perfectly in such an inspiring environment.


I believe we are only at the beginning of a change in which retail and art will be more and more integrated. Consumers are looking for authenticity, genuineness, distinctiveness and experience. Art, in any form, can (partly) fulfill these needs.

Are you, after reading this blog, inspired and would you like to  know more about  the way you can integrate art into your company and environment? Please feel free to contact us by sending an e-mail to info@preneurl.com.