We all know that gorgeous art makes your walls happy. But when you buy a print from The Posters, the happiness that your art spreads doesn't just stop there. The super hip online retailer of museum-quality posters (newsflash: they also now stock original art, 3-D objects, and clothing through a collab with Print All Over Me) gives art-lovers an easy way to buy art from the top contemporary artists at an affordable price. Plus, ten percent of every sale goes to helping fund art classes for underserved kids. As CEO, Co-Founder, and Creative Director Athena Currey explains, this "creates a type of eco-system of the arts supporting arts education."
Awesome mission aside, the high quality of The Posters' offerings should be enough to make anyone a fan. All of their works are offset lithographs, printed on strong archival paper, and made in California. "Printing locally not only creates jobs in America, but also allows us to be present for each step of production," says Athena. "This lets us to control the color and contrast to ensure that the artist's vision is fully realized." We recently got the scoop from Athena on the conception and behind-the-scenes inspiration behind her company.
Athena Currey, smiling amongst the art she loves so much.
Simply Framed: Tell us the story behind how you were inspired to build a business around the causes you care about.
Athena Currey: The Posters is a mission that happens to be a business. Before launching The Posters I had been working at Roosevelt Hospital in NYC teaching art to patients living with chronic illness. By offering art, we were able to shift the focus from the illness to something positive, and give some control back to the people receiving treatment. This experience energized me to find a new way to impact the community through art.
SF: How do you seek out and connect with the artists you work with?
AC: I am my customer. I love art. As the Creative Director, I choose artists pieces that I would like in my own home or office. For instance, I've been a fan of Nate Lowman and Sara VanDerBeek for many years now and am excited to have a piece of their work.
We are also introducing young artists whose work has yet to be discovered by a larger audience. Many of our artists are already in the collections of major museums and important private collections, but most people don't know their names. We're giving our customers the inside scoop ten to twenty years early.
SF: Any first-hand stories of how you have seen your work make a difference in people’s lives?
AC: Our first arts education partner is Inner-City Arts. The students who work with Inner-City Arts receive higher scores in their math, English, and reading classes—not to mention they are learning ceramics, animation, drama, music, and many other classes that would not be offered in traditional classroom settings. In The Posters' first year, we were able to fund over 500 hours of art classes for kids! I encourage anyone living in Los Angeles to volunteer at Inner-City Arts, even for a day. The campus is magical, and I promise you will walk away inspired!