This new online storefront gives Dayton artists a place to display, sell their work

The Essential Artists Dayton website provides an e-commerce platform for local artists

In our normal busy lives, many of us are rushing from school or work, then out doing fun things, and not spending much time at home. Now that we are at home constantly, some of us are realizing we’re staring at blank walls. That’s what happened to Dave Best, and he decided to do something about it.

Best, the director of engineering at Mile Two, a Dayton-based software company, started working from home and took note of his bare walls. It not only triggered him to buy art, but to help facilitate others to do the same.

>> READ MORE: Dayton's tend & flourish selling bundles of art

Daytonians have been stepping up to support restaurants, small businesses, and nonprofits, as well as virtually tipping hospitality workers  and musicians. Best wondered what could be done to support the  visual artists in our community. That's when he came up with the concept of Essential Artists Dayton.

Best's idea was to provide a free platform for Dayton visual artists to set up online storefronts, where 100% of sales (less processing charges) go directly to the artists. That's when he reached out to Peter Benkendorf at The Collaboratory to help make it happen.

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Credit: Simon Says Pottery

Credit: Simon Says Pottery

The Collaboratory has a reputation for incubating projects from ideas to action, along with deep ties to visual artists in the community. Best brought along his experience as co-captain of Code Dayton, which is a group of civic-minded people who want to use their skills to solve problems and enhance life in the Dayton region.

Benkendorf also tapped local artist Megan Fiely to help get the project launched. Initially the first artist to participate, Fiely was crucial to beta testing, ensuring storefronts were accessible and user friendly. She also recruited other artists to participate and helped get the word out on social media.

The collaborative effort has produced a new website: The site, which is open now, provides an e-commerce platform for Dayton artists. From there, you can scroll through the various artists, and purchase an affordable piece of original art. There are no fees for artists at least through May 30, 2020.

>> READ MORE: Portraits during a pandemic: Art teacher re-creates masterpieces to delight her students

Credit: Ixchel Studio

Credit: Ixchel Studio

All art purchased through Essential Artists Dayton will be available for pickup at The Collaboratory, Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., or by appointment. The exchange will be made while practicing appropriate social distancing. The Collaboratory is located at 114 West First Street, Suite B, in Talbott Tower.

>> READ MORE: Home studios: 11 local artists tell us what they’ve been working on

About The Collaboratory

As described on the Essential Dayton Artists’ website, The Collaboratory is where Dayton’s dreamers and doers gather to move innovative ideas to transformational action. They focus on developing enterprises and initiatives that generate new economic, social and creative opportunities and value.

Credit: Facebook

Credit: Facebook

About Code for Dayton

Code for Dayton is a group of developers, designers, writers, creators, thinkers and civic-minded people that want to use their skills to solve problems, open data and enhance life in the Dayton region. They work with civic and community leaders and collaborate on projects. They host hackathons and regular hack nights to produce mobile and web apps that solve problems and help people.

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