Arte Accesible: a new way to buy art in Chile’s capital

A fresh concept looks to transform the way people buy and sell artwork in Santiago, to make it more affordable and accessible.


An innovative way to buy affordable art from some of the best artists and studios in Santiago and beyond has recently launched in the capital.

Arte Accesible, an initiative started by Ian Morgan, Paula Abarca Carmona, and Dan Smethem of Santiago-based urban art tour operator URBNSTGO, exhibits art pieces with no prices or auction baseline. Buyers can write what they feel a piece is worth on a sticker (along with contact information) and place the sticker under the artwork. At the end of the exhibit, the artist can then chose to sell their piece or not.

The first Arte Accesible launched at La Casa de la Luna Azul in Lastarria two months ago, and the most recent event was held Wednesday at The Clinic in Bellas Artes. More than twenty artists’ work went on display, showcasing an eclectic and impressive collection of current Chilean artwork.

“The concept has been done in other countries, but we’re the first to take it to Chile,” URBNSTGO’s Ian Morgan told This is Chile. “I love the art scene here — the street art in particular is amazing. Artists have been very interested in coming forward; the only time we’ve approached an artist who didn’t want to get involved was for contractual reasons.”

Prices range widely — at the first event, the pieces went for as low as US$ 8 (CLP 4,000), while a piece at The Clinic was valued by the artist at US$ 700 (CLP 350,000). Ian explained that the idea first came about through an interest in art and a sense of disillusionment at the conventional art market model.

“In our opinion, galleries are boring and overpriced,” Ian said. “Most galleries take a huge percentage from the artist which we feel is below the belt. The pieces at Arte Accesible are only worth what someone is willing to pay. If at the end of the night the artist is happy with the highest bid, they can sell – if not they don’t have to.”

The next Arte Accesible event will be taking place at The Clinic in about six weeks time. Visit the URBNSTGO Facebook page to keep an eye on scheduling or sign up for a tour of Santiago’s urban art.