GREAT BARRINGTON -- Lauren Clark knew it would be a struggle to get a bank loan to move her Housatonic art studio to downtown Great Barrington.
Banks, as it turns out, won't accept artwork as collateral.
So Clark has gone straight to the Internet, hoping to use artwork in a different way to fund the estimated $30,000 relocation cost.
She has been soliciting funds through the online crowdfunding finance website Indiegogo. Donations beginning at $25 can be exchanged for various levels of artwork, ranging from marbled paper to pottery to artistic prints from famed local Berkshire County artists who count Clark as a friend. Loyal patrons have donated $7,000, Clark said.
"I am immensely grateful to all the people who have contributed so far," Clark said. "I have had a positive response. I was hesitant at first because I wasn't comfortable asking for help, but the response has been positive and wonderful."
Clark's gallery on Park Street has been a Housatonic staple for nearly two decades, but she began exploring a move after she learned the building would be going up for sale.
Clark didn't want to leave her business's fate to the whims of a new owner, so she moved to the heart of the town's commercial district on Railroad Street in December.
The new location is ideal -- but it comes at a steep price, she said.
"[The artists] are going to get a lot more exposure and I will be able to sell their work and hopefully it will be better for all of us," Clark said.
The artwork includes prominent local artists including T.L. Lange, Bart Arnold, Julio Granda. A $30 donation will provide pottery from Dan Bellow, whose pottery is also sold at Anthropologie. For $50, donors can choose between a gift certificate from CafeADAM or art prints by Pittsfield-based painter Richard Britell.
Britell has known Clark for about 20 years, and he appreciates that it's not a "vanity gallery," which Britell describes as a gallery that is loaned to individual artists. Clark's gallery features many local artists.
"It's not only good for her but also good for me as an artist, so I wanted to give her something substantial," Britell said.
Britell also donated some other artwork that includes an oil landscape painting of Tuscany, Italy, which he estimates is worth $5,000. The artwork is unique because he doesn't typically paint landscapes, he said.
Goodwill has been a driving force in her move. Various contractors and vendors agreed to delay being paid while the campaign has been going.
The move was costly, given construction costs, gallery lighting and other relocation, expansion and infrastructure expenses, she said.
"It'll help me pay the people who need to be paid and also give me the leg up to get through the winter," Clark said.
Donations can be made by going to www.indiegogo.com and searching for Lauren Clark.