When Austin Fusion met with Bonnie Glendinning, founder and CEO of artmuse.com, her sense of approachable dignity was apparent. As the curator of an online art gallery, hers is a noble and challenging endeavor. But her goal is simple enough: to bring art into the lives of as many people as possible, to surround us with it, or as George Bernard Shaw once wrote, “Without art, the crudeness of reality would be unbearable.” While this quote makes Shaw seem like the sort of person who would have been a drag at dinner parties, his sentiment coincides with the mission of artmuse.
During our time with Bonnie, two things became apparent: that she possesses a warm and contagious laugh, and that her dedication to artmuse and all it stands for is unquestionable.
AFM: Your website states that you believe “art makes life more enjoyable.” How did this belief shape your mission at artmuse?
Bonnie: The goal of artmuse is to get art into people’s lives. Those with the desire to become collectors often face the hindrance of price, but I find that the internet helps alleviate that hindrance. The prints we offer are affordable, but that affordability harms neither the quality nor the artistic integrity of the piece that an individual purchases.
AFM: What challenges and surprises — both difficult and rewarding — have you experienced while building artmuse into the organization that it is today?
Bonnie: The most daunting challenge was establishing the organization, the foundational and logistical elements of organizing artmuse, but there have been welcome surprises too. Meeting the various artists for instance has been immensely rewarding, because I feel it is the goal of artmuse to allow the viewer to connect with not only the artistic pieces that they find most interesting but also to connect with the artists themselves. Whether a given collector is interested in an original piece or a print, I find it integral that they get a feel for who the creator of that work truly is.
AFM: In your brief biographical section on artmuse.com, you mention your father’s sad and unexpected passing as well as his creative and inspirational spirit. Do you believe your upbringing led you on a course that culminated in the creation of artmuse?
Bonnie: My father went to college at a time when it was unusual to do so, and he always demonstrated an appreciation for education. An American soldier from California once told him a story of America, and this really sparked his creative, pioneering spirit, so he went to America, intellectually curious. Both of my parents imparted a broadened perspective of the world and took me to museums, galleries, and other events. I think this really led in part to my intellectually inspired appreciation of the arts.
AFM: What else would you like to accomplish in your ongoing, long-term development of artmuse?
Bonnie: We have been discussing offering original art and other products (jewelry, furniture, etc.). The intention behind everything we do is to serve both the artist and the collector. We serve the artist by providing exposure and income, and we serve the collector by offering artistic diversity, because once again, the more art is integrated into life, the more rewarding it is.
AFM: What initially sparked the idea of starting artmuse.com specifically?
Bonnie: I like to try new things. The idea for an online art gallery really came up in 1997, but at that time the barriers of entry were steep financially, technologically, and culturally; but once the time was right, I found that my position at artmuse gave me the relaxed sensibility of a collector while also enabling me to play the role of a tireless promoter, giving me the ability to not only offer the best art that I can find but to also remove some stress from the artists that I promote.
Any lover of art should take the time to visit artmuse.com. The quality of its selection, the affordable cost to a would-be collector and the effortless navigation of its interface make it an ideal place to acquire your next coveted artistic acquisition. After all, Bonnie’s already put in the hard work for you.
Written By Jason Duncan
Jennifer Chenoweth (Portrait by Jeff Stockton)
David Leonard (copyright David Leonard)
Tyson Anthony Roberts (copyright Tyson Anthony Roberts)
Andrea Pramuk (copyright Andrea Pramuk)
Jad Fair (copyright artmuse.com)
Kristy Lynn (copyright Kristy Lynn)