When Charles Youel started the cycling/art show ARTCRANK in Minneapolis in 2007, he figured some 50 people would show up to look at and purchase limited-edition cycling posters from local artists. Instead, 500 came, and over the next eight years, ARTCRANK expanded to run shows in 17 cities in three countries.
This year, however, Youel has dramatically scaled back. The whole thing got too big so he’s only running four on-site shows. Breckenridge, Colorado, was one of the lucky spots to nab an event, and theirs started yesterday to coincide with the USA Pro Challenge bike race, which will visit the town today and Friday.
“We hit a capacity problem,” Youel says. “We could only do so many events a year, and as many as we added, we realized that there were cities we could never get to and artists we would never feature because we like to work with locals.”
The Breckenridge show is a collaboration with local organization and features local artists from that area and around Colorado. At the show there are 40 copies of 25 different posters, and each pieces sells for $40.
If you love bike art but don’t live in or near this mountain hamlet, no worries. Youel plans to launch an e-commerce platform on ARTCRANK’s web site later this month with a greatly expanded roster of artists. The site will start with works by 30 artists, with 30 prints of each work (they’ll sell for $45 plus shipping). At the end of 30 days, or when each edition sells out, the artwork will be replaced with a new artist. Youel says he anticipates working with 900 artists.
For him, the website offers the opportunity to work with a host of new artists. “There are great artistic communities in places like Salt Lake City or Raleigh, or Atlanta and Oklahoma City, where we’ve heard from people with fantastic portfolios,” he says.
ARTCRANK will also still do select on-site shows, and the art at those shows will be exclusive to each event. “I didn’t want to make the e-commerce site a clearinghouse for other work,” says Youel.
So why just posters? “One of the guiding principles I had when starting this was to make art as accessible as bikes,” Youel says. “A poster is still a handmade work of art, that is done affordably, so it enables people to start an art collection and support a local artist without having to pay thousands of dollars to do so.”
ARTCRANK Breckenridge is located at the Old Masonic Hall. Stage 4 of the Pro Challenge finishes in Breckenridge on August 20, and Stage 5 is an individual time trial (doubling as Stage 1 of the women’s race) that starts and finishes in town.
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