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Customer Spotlight: How Art of Collab supports Orlando artists

Art of Collab members: AJ Barbel (left)

The best part about serving small businesses is seeing the active part they play in building and benefiting the communities around them. One such business is Art of Collab, an artist collective working locally in Orlando, Florida. 

We recently had the opportunity to sit down for a conversation with four Art of Collab members to learn more about their vision. The collective is focused on marginalized groups and is working day and night to bring art to audiences that don’t necessarily have galleries or museums in their neighborhoods. 

Part of the Eatonville mural
Part of the Eatonville mural

What AJ saw around him were members of the community, some younger than him, who are without homes, doing drugs, or just asking for money on the street. He believes art can help some of them find a way out. “It’s just a form of trying to solve problems,” he said. 

“There are a lot of people in that community who have lost people who haven’t even started life yet or even graduated from high school. I was in that situation. So I understand. If you just take advice, or collaborate, or step out, and try something new, that might be the missing step that will change your life.” 

It takes money to create

Artists need a lot of support to continue working. “It takes money to create, it takes a lot of resources,” Mariah said. That’s why Art of Collab works to create monetization opportunities for members in the form of online art sales or workshops. 

Getting paid is always nice, but timing can also be crucial, especially for artists who need cash to create their next work. “As an artist myself,” Mariah said, “I’ve definitely been in that position where I was waiting for checks to come and to be paid for projects.” That’s why it was so important for Art of Collab to find an easy way to pay artists quickly. So, they turned to Melio, an online business-to-business (B2B) payment platform built for small businesses. 

Artists don’t typically have a background in accounting or the means to hire an accountant, Mariah said, explaining that Melio helped fill that gap. “It became so easy to do our bookkeeping, and keep track of what was coming in and what was coming out.” Now, instead of using Excel spreadsheets, writing checks, and paying through various peer-to-peer platforms, they can take care of all their payments, incoming and outgoing, on one platform.

What’s next? 

Art of Collab is a very local enterprise but its members are hoping to expand in the future.  

Lafayette said he would like to see the collective creating murals in other states and even around the world. 

Starting as just a collective of friends, Art of Collab had grown into a small business, he said. “As a startup, you want to grow, but you want to keep your core values. We always want to stay true to ourselves.”

Want to learn more about Art of Collab and support local artists in Florida? Visit their website or follow them on Facebook and Instagram

*This blog post is intended for informational purposes only and is not intended as financial advice.
**Melio does not provide legal, tax or accounting advice, and you should consult with a professional advisor before making any financial decisions.