Curaty: Exclusive One-on-One interview with founder Sneha Shah

What is ‘Curaty’? What’s the company’s vision and objective?

Founded in 2019,  Curaty means curate with a “why”. Our mission is to use art to make the world a more inclusive and empathetic place – leveraging the latest research on aesthetics and wellness into curatorial experiments. Our clients range from UHNI’s, institutions, corporations, luxury hospitality venues to private residences. We provide turn-key solutions to our clients from ideation, research, curation, sourcing, negotiation to collections management. We are a socially conscious art advisory firm with a deep passion for championing early-career artists and establishing sustainable revenue streams for them.  Our bespoke curation ensures each client’s space tells a unique visual story, enriching lives through the power of art.

In your opinion, how is the art world evolving? Specifically for emerging artists?

The art world is experiencing a seismic shift, notably benefiting emerging artists.  Digital platforms have democratized access, providing unprecedented visibility for creators. This shift has empowered artists to bypass traditional avenues, connect directly with global audiences, and cultivate a dedicated following. Additionally, the rise of blockchain technology holds potential in revolutionizing art ownership and authentication, offering increased transparency and fair compensation. As the industry becomes more inclusive, there’s a growing recognition of diverse voices and narratives, providing emerging artists with opportunities to challenge conventions and redefine artistic norms.  Major galleries like Gagosian and David Zwirner are investing in platforms for early-career artists, reflecting a significant collecting trend towards this sector. While participating in the market is increasingly accessible, there’s still room for growth in institutional recognition within museums and publications. This gap has sparked a vibrant scene of artist-run, alternative spaces. The convergence of musicians, visual artists, and theatre practitioners is reshaping the narrative, fostering dynamic collaborations that redefine artistic norms. The future holds increasing promise, now is the best time to be an early career artist, navigating this evolving landscape, with innovation driving the next wave of artistic expression.

What criteria does ‘Curaty’ take into consideration when selecting artists to feature on its platform?

At Curaty our artist selection embodies a fusion of exploration and community engagement. We’re constantly seeking new voices that align with our diverse project briefs. Our affinity lies with creators who challenge norms, extending art beyond the studio to actively connect with communities. Materiality, texture, and colour transcend the visual; becoming potent expressions. In specific projects, our preference for collaborating with local artists stems from anchoring our vision of an inclusive world within the vibrant pulse of communities. We always keep an open mind and line of communication with artists even if they might not fit any immediate project. We genuinely enjoy building working and mentoring relationships within the community and actively aspire to invest in each of these relationships, as it’s what makes our work meaningful. 

What challenges and opportunities arise when catering to such diverse artists in the UK?

Honestly, it’s such an incredible experience, everyday in the office we’re looking at innovative works of art and expanding our scope. London itself has the highest concentration of the best art schools in the world, attracting students internationally. We find ourselves in a global melting pot, which gives us deep insight into the pulse of the early career sector. There is competition; the quality of student shows are high, and thus artists who are serious about their practice, conduct themselves professionally, and make an effort to be visible both in artist spaces and online. Yet, amidst these opportunities, a notable challenge emerges in the form of artist migration. We encounter the bittersweet reality of artists leaving the UK after their initial years of practice. This underscores the transient nature of talent in the global artistic landscape, fueling our commitment to creating an environment where artists stay, thrive and leave a lasting mark.

Could you share some insights into your journey from being a Mumbai-born artist to founding a London-based art curation community?

My journey kickstarted at age 3 with my mom’s red lipstick and a Cy Twombly-esque drawing across her dresser mirror. The texture filled me with joy, and a few years later I graduated to oil sticks, and eventually clay in high school. Chasing this passion, I enrolled at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago for my Bachelor of Fine Arts. Graduation was accompanied by an inbox of rejections from galleries, a lonely studio and a stark realization; that the art world was a challenging terrain. 90% of art school graduates stop making art 2 years into graduation. 

But, the fact is artists are entrepreneurs, we run with our ideas, ideate, are filled with passion and a drive to succeed. So I set out to change this reality, I worked at a gallery in New York, managed a private art collection and museum in Mumbai, pursued a diploma in art preservation and cultural heritage protection, further deepened my understanding of the physiological, psychological, aesthetical and spiritual links between humans and art during my MA in History of Art at UCL. Upon graduating, I founded Curaty in 2019 seeking to transform this harsh reality for artists. 

Curaty aims to restructure the art ecosystem by providing opportunities for artists who face barriers in showcasing their work. I want more artists and women, especially from creative backgrounds, to develop this growth mindset and unbox their potential, there’s so many advantages to being creative within business. It’s with this mindset that I build my team, and mentor at art schools and accelerators. My journey from artist to founder reflects my commitment to changing the narrative, increasing art’s accessibility, and leveraging its impact on human experience.

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