Providence, R.I., is becoming a showcase for up-and-coming artists, but you won't necessarily find their work in a gallery. Every Tuesday, Shea'la Finch and Jon Buonaccorsi display a new print of an original drawing or painting on their Web site, tinyshowcase.com, and sell 100 to 200 for $20 apiece. In three years, Tiny Showcase has given more than 100 artists an audience—the site receives up to 10,000 visitors on a busy night—and has made art accessible to those with modest means.
Finch, 29, and Buonaccorsi, 30, were living together in 2005, trapped in office jobs they hated. To keep up morale, they left each other funny sketches on the fridge. Then Finch, who has an art degree from Bennington College, thought of putting their sketches and other underexposed art online in limited editions. Buonaccorsi, a Web designer, created the site, limiting their startup costs to only a few hundred dollars. Revenue, which reached $250,000 last year, comes from a 20% commission on artists' sales, and the business became profitable quickly. But the two still depend on day jobs to pay the bills.
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