Andrea Carafa can speak several languages, among them English, French and Spanish, but to him, the most universal one is that of music and the arts. With these languages, the barriers are physical.
“There is a big issue that we are facing, and this is access to space, cultural venues have been disappearing in most of the big cities due to "skyrocketing" rents.”For upcoming artists, lack of space makes it even harder to get their work displayed.
But Carafa realized there were plenty of untapped spaces. “Like our living rooms, backyards, stores and so on.These spaces are there, we just have to share them and use them.”
To that end, he created ArtsUp, an online platform that pairs artists with venue owners willing to host events in their space.“They are allowed to host a concert, an exhibition, theater, dance show.”
At these pop-up art events, artist sell tickets, accept donations, and most importantly, introduce their work to new fans. “Every host is inviting friends, so this is new audience for every artist.”
For Carafa who found the startup while at the Stanford University, ArtsUp is a labor of love. “It’s really hard to be an entrepreneur. You work very hard. You work a lot and you can keep going only if you’re passionate.”
His passion has brought unique events to four continents and 16 cities around the world, connecting local communities with the world they previously may have felt estranged from.
“Some people told us, ‘We don’t usually go to exhibitions or other kinds of shows in very traditional settings because we don’t feel it’s for us’.It removes any social and socio-cultural barrier which you might have in other kinds of settings, like in museums or in art galleries.”
For these attendees, the best experiences are the kind that just pop up.
Tina Trinh, VOA NEWS, Standford.