CURATE’s Cari Sacks

Civic leader Cari Sacks is a trustee of the Museum of Contemporary Art, is continuing her arts education through Masters classes at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) and is an avid art collector.  But she’s taken her passion for art one step further, designing a free mobile app, with the help of her sister Patti, that allows users to upload photos and place art work digitally on their rooms’ walls.  Fifty percent of the profits from CURATE, which launches today on the iTunes store, will go to support graduate scholarships at SAIC. 

Cari Sacks.
What was your inspiration for CURATE?
I wanted a way to see what a painting would look like on my wall before I committed to hanging it. I wanted to be sure it actually fit in the space and that it felt good there. My sister, a photographer, would spend hours photoshopping paintings onto my walls, but it was very time consuming. One day after hours of fooling around on photoshop we looked at each other and said, “There should be an app for this.”  As we developed it, it occurred to us that this was a fantastic way for galleries to market their inventory.  So, in addition to the ability for the user to see any artwork they may find on their walls, they can also scroll through hundreds of galleries and try out their inventory on their walls too.
If you could go back in time before you started this project and share one piece of advice with yourself, what would you tell yourself?
I would tell myself to sit down and make an outline of each stage in development.  I would methodically plan exactly what I wanted to happen at each stage and not move forward till those steps were taken.   It’s easier to get it right at a slower pace than go back and make changes.  
What are your next steps?
Next steps for CURATE is to grow the business by getting galleries to subscribe, and by marketing the app to all Art Fairs.  It’s the perfect way for a gallery to market what they are showing.  It’s much cheaper than taking an ad in a glossy art magazine, and reaches many more people.  Then as we get more galleries to subscribe, the user will be able to search for pieces by Artist’s name, period, or media.  
We want to be in the know!  Name one person, place or thing that you think is one of Chicago’s best-kept secrets—a secret until now, of course.

The Project Room is a tiny art gallery on Huron that is extremely well curated and very affordable.  Most galleries are intimidating and expensive.  This one is run by an artist who has great eye and represents some incredible artists from all over the globe.  The inventory is surprisingly inexpensive.
Q&As are edited for clarity and length.

Erin Robertson is managing editor at Chicago Ideas.

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