Tze Chun graduated from Columbia University in 2006 with a background in art history. After school, she watched as friends and acquaintances from college entered the working world, obtaining high salaried, New York “dream jobs” in finance and law. Everything looked good from the outside, but there was a snag.
“A lot of my friends had these great jobs, lived in nice apartments and had this disposable income that they didn’t know how to use. They worked long hours and then came home to a bare, white box,” Chun explained. “One person I knew worked for a law firm that gave its employees a free membership to the MOMA, but she knew that she was never going to use it.”
That’s when Chun first had the idea for a service that would help hardworking professionals connect with New York’s abundant gallery world; as well as provide a general art education. After working in the non-profit art arena for five years, she observed a variety of galleries embracing a more online existence. So, in 2011 Uprise Art, the online gallery that allows art lovers or curious city dwellers to purchase pieces of art either outright or on a monthly installment plan, was born.
The majority of Chun’s clients choose to purchase their pieces on an installment plan. “That’s really how we’ve been able to expand our market and reach and connect with different types of professionals who have an interest in art, but just don’t know where to start at being an art collector,” Chun explained.
One of the most important services that Uprise Art offers is its free client consultation. Chun believes that it is important to give a “white glove, concierge” service to anyone that is interested in the gallery. Chun or another Uprise employee will go to a client’s home, look at the existing décor and help decide what kind of art would or would not work. The main purpose of this facet of the gallery is to help educate newcomers to art collecting as well as create an environment where no question is a bad question.
“It’s hard to just walk into a gallery and ask questions,” Chun said. “So we try to make art collecting, easier, more enjoyable and more affordable.”
Because the gallery is strictly online, Chun and Uprise Art are constantly partnering with different schools and business around the city to set up lessons in art collecting, studio visits and other parties and events in order to maintain a real world presence. “Basically, we’ll find plenty of excuses to party,” Chun joked.
However, what Chun stresses the most is educating and connecting people through art. So, whether you know what makes Jeff Koons great or don’t have a clue about cubism, give Uprise Art a holler and start rolling up those sports posters for posterity.
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