In Bushwick, and throughout New York City, we are surrounded by great art. But art ownership is rare and often inaccessible to new collectors on a budget. That’s where Curina fits in. Curina is a rent-to-own art subscription service that seeks to increase accessibility to art ownership while supporting emerging artists.
Three subscription plans are offered (determined by the pricing and size of the artwork) and priced at $38, $88 and $148 a month. During the rental period, you can swap your piece or even switch to a different plan if you want to rent different pieces in another tier. If you want to own the piece that you’re currently renting, you can purchase it with all of the monthly payments deducted from its full cost.
Mio Asatani, founder of Curina, developed the idea when she moved from her native country Japan to Columbia University’s Business School. In her journey to own original fine art by New York artists, Asatani felt intimidated by exorbitant prices and isolated by the tight-knit gallery world. She wanted to graduate from mass produced prints from Ikea and West Elm but found it difficult.
To find the right artists to fit Curina’s mission and customer values, Asatani makes connections through art fairs, social media and networking. Going one step further, Asatani personally visits many of the artists’ studios to create videos, shared across Curina’s social media platforms, so renters can get to know the artist behind the work. Ninety-five percent of Curina’s artists are New York based and 90 percent are Brooklyn based. Curina represents Bushwick-based painters Sasha Hallock and Shira Toren and sculptor Yusuke Ochai.
“The artists are passionate about contributing to a cause with their art. Our customers are also passionate about social causes and purchase works to support those causes.” said Asatani, who believes that Curina’s largely millennial customers are a generation that strives to be unique through socially responsible purchases.
The company opened for business in November 2019. Despite being a relatively fresh startup in the middle of the pandemic, in the Spring of 2020, Curina donated 100% of its sales commission to Masks for Docs, a coalition of volunteers working to deliver protective supplies to healthcare workers.
“We started in 2019. Some people were like, ‘Does it make sense for a small business, a startup like you, to donate money when you yourself are struggling to maintain it?’ I think the artists and our team members were passionate about doing that cause, so I made the decision to donate our proceeds.”
Curina continues to engage in social issues with its permanent benefit collection ‘Small But Mighty’. The collection features small works for sale under $1000, with 20% of the proceeds donated to the Marsha P. Johnson Institute, an organization that advocates for Black transgender people.
“Being surrounded by art is enriching. It’s refreshing, and looking at artwork makes you have a different perspective,” said Asatani, who hopes that Curina can be a vehicle for young people to support emerging artists. “I really hope that people continue to see the value of art.”
All images courtesy of Curina.
Featured Image: A studio visit with painter Jadie Meprivert.
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