Originally, ARV (arvme.com) was founded in Prague (Czechia) in 2018 by Maria Meshcherskaya (a Europe-based entrepreneur) as the first app that connects people through a mutual interest in art pieces.
In the beginning stages, the startup raised over 70k from the close circle and was focused on developing a matchmaking app for art fans. By 2021 the company was moved to New York and modified into the art&tech powerhouse, which produce a series of products starting from the app and friending service to the weekly digital “art glow” magazine and series of cultural maps.
The main mission of the company is to open up the art world not only as a source of inspiration and aesthetic items with historical value but also as a way for connection for communities and even nations. As ARV’s founder claims: “Our main mission is to connect like-minded people from all around and ease the process of socialization by using art as the ground for it. We all often fall into being too shy or not sure what to talk about even when we are keen to connect with the person. When we have the artwork – it works as a trigger for the conversation and source of topics for the discussion.” (from the interview on 03/20/22)
ARV app works in three steps and right after downloading it, users can choose from the list of available art spaces – a place they want to visit. Every place has over 30 art pieces (some of them more) and is linked to the chat about them. Thus, in a fun, entertaining manner the user can explore new pieces while making friends.
The app is free for now, but soon ARV team might implement some paid options, so to add more features to the product, such as filtering by location, direct messaging, and connecting with artists.
Besides the version for the App Store, the company also has Friending service, a web service for art appreciators. Though, as founders claim web version is a lighter form of the app and designed specifically for those who want to have an immediate response and get connected with adherents 1:1 without other participants.
One of the latest ARV products – Czech Art Map, a cultural tool launched at the beginning of this year as a way to engage communities in the dialogue with local artists and also attract foreign guests to explore the art scene of Czechia.
The map has over 1000 nominated artists in contemporary art, glass design, and photography. One of the map’s features besides showing the location of the artists and the work – is interviews. Readers can explore favorite painters of the artists, their alma maters, go to spots, and tips for beginners in the creative world.
Overall, ARV audience count over 2000 readers, engage with artists from over 30 countries, and the team plans to expand the art map initiative to other regions.
According to ARV Founder Maria Meshcherskaya, the next step for the company would be to engage with more US-based art spaces and create art maps for every state in the US.