How Baton Rouge art galleries are dealing with digital disruption 

    Ann Connelly’s business has evolved considerably since she first began selling antique European drawings in the late 1980s. 

    After moving into a brick-and-mortar gallery near the Perkins Overpass area in 1998, the LSU graduate began expanding her representation from 17th and 18th century artists to more modern ones. What started as a small collection she stored in a workroom at the back of her home has expanded into several hundred pieces, which adorn the walls and are lovingly tucked away in floor-to-ceiling shelves of her Bocage-area gallery, Ann Connelly Fine Art. 

    “I had to get away from drawings and morph and change according to the physical location to address the interest of local community,” Connelly says. “I was weaving around to figure out the pulse of business and what I needed to represent.”

    Now the anchor tenant of Studio Park, a 2.8-acre luxury development Connelly developed with her husband, Paul, the gallery is exploring emerging trends for art galleries and looking to take advantage of technological advancements in the field that some say are increasingly pivoting customers to online shops instead of brick and mortar stores. 

    The internet has upended how retail shops operate in the commerce space and art galleries have not been immune to technology-driven evolution. Over the past few years, several online shopping retailers specializing in art have emerged, such as Saachi Art and Art Cloud, not to mention Amazon. Not bound to one storage area, these online sites offer shoppers a larger variety than what traditional galleries can offer, starting with a $10 photo reproduction up to a $100,000 original painting by Pablo Picasso. 

    Those working in the business of art are taking cues from so-called social media “influencers” by using platforms like Instagram to not only promote their goods but also to find new artists and make connections. Moreover, gallery owners are using public art displays and online galleries to help attract new collectors to locally owned shops. Read the full story about how galleries are evolving from the Dec. 3 edition of Business Report.  

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