Starbucks has started selling art from a new coffee bar in Chelsea, amid some of the biggest galleries in New York. The Fortune 500 company opened a branch in the neighbourhood in late November with an exhibition of paintings and drawings by the young US artist Robert Otto Epstein, each of which was on sale for between $1,000 and $3,000.
“The space we’ve dedicated to art within our store enables emerging artists to gain exposure for their work in Chelsea,” says Lara Behnert, who leads Starbucks’ global art programme. Proceeds from sales will go towards the non-profit art education organisation Free Arts NYC.
The Epstein exhibition, which is scheduled to end at some point this month, is the first in a series organised “in collaboration with Uprise Art, an online gallery for emerging artists”, according to a statement.
A spokeswoman for Starbucks described the initiative as a “pilot programme” and declined to give any more details on whether the company plans to expand its sales of art. She added that the company will commission “emerging artists to make site-specific works—mostly murals—or to help us build a catalogue of works for customers to enjoy and discover through display in our cafes around the world”.