Local artist Mark Bettis launches Artists Support Pledge

Press release from Mark Bettis:

Mark Bettis, prolific visual artist and owner of Mark Bettis Studio & Gallery, recently launched a compassionate grass-roots initiative that’s providing much-needed financial aid to Asheville’s big-hearted community of artists, and it’s rooted in trust-based support of each other. Dubbed #artistsupportpledge, participating local artists are offering original works in virtual marketplaces on Instagram and Facebook. Exceptional in that each piece’s price point doesn’t exceed an accessible $200, every time a participating artist sells $1,000 of their own work, they pledge to buy a piece of art from another artist!

The role of buyer isn’t limited to artists, however — anyone who loves art or wants to support local artists can purchase. To explore artists’ work locally, search under #artistsupportpledgeRAD.

The swift arrival of pandemic protocols — like social distancing — that communities are now observing, has transformed how everyone lives their lives. This includes visual artists and those who support them, from community members who relish gallery openings to museum aficionados. What does it mean for artists? Something quite sobering: shuttered galleries, cancelled art classes, and postponed exhibits and openings. “With no warning, our artistic community lost the ability to pay their bills and feed themselves virtually overnight,” declared Bettis. “I felt compelled to do something.”

Bettis added that Asheville’s artists are famously generous, and something clicked when he read about how Matthew Burrows, a painter in Sussex, England, got the first model for this program off the ground. “I wondered why we couldn’t try that here, and knew it certainly couldn’t hurt,” said Bettis. He noted that though artist-participants are selling their pieces at a steep discount, the goal is for the artist community to help each other weather this rough patch — which will end. In the short time since the project started, Bettis has already sold over 20 pieces of art and bought three so far from his colleagues.

#Artistsupportpledge was conceived and started quickly but thoughtfully, and is a classic “win-win” for both the participants and the overall economy. Momentum is another goal of the initiative, and the Instagram and Facebook platforms are allowing sales and support of artists to grow quickly. “We currently have 20+ Asheville artists participating in the network, but the number climbs each day as we navigate this together,” shared Bettis. “After selling my own work and buying other artists’, it feels empowering, uniting, and impactful.”

Learn more about Asheville’s #artistsupportpledgeRAD project at the Mark Bettis Studio & Gallery Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/markbettisart/ or on his Instagram page, @mbettisgallery.

The Mark Bettis Studio & Gallery is located at 123 Roberts Street in the historic WEDGE building in the heart of Asheville’s vibrant River Arts District. We hope to reopen as soon as it is safe to do so. Please visit the Mark Bettis Studio & Gallery website at https://www.markbettisgallery.com/.  Mr. Bettis can also be reached at 941-587-9502 or markdbettis@gmail.com. His online store is also open at https://www.markbettisgallery.com/online-store.artists

About Mark Bettis: Though his home base is now Asheville, Mark Bettis is a Chicago native and later attended the Ringling School of Art and Design in Sarasota, Florida. His educational and professional history include experience with computer animation and advertising, but it’s his love of fine art that he decided to fully pursue, and one of the most intentional steps in his journey as an artist was his move to the creative mecca of Asheville. Bettis’ work is known for its stylistic eclecticism, bold energy, rich color, and texture augmented with natural materials. Bettis himself is recognized as an enthusiastic teacher who shares his knowledge and processes – like using cold wax in the art making process – during his studio workshop classes, an active member of the community-at-large, and a proponent of local artists who has created a connected and energetic community of peers.

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