In the wake of a pandemic that has financial devastated the museum sector, cultural licensing has become a go-to channel for institutions hoping to engage audiences and generate some much-needed revenue. One company that understands this is ARTiSTORY, the master licensee that in 2021 alone, has established IP licensing partnerships with MFA Boston, Taipei’s National Palace Museum, and the Dunhuang Culture & Tourism Group. With the latter, ARTiSTORY is now set to expand its licensing scope with the launch of its Living Artists program.

What happened

The work of Laura Greenan (left) and Sveta Dorosheva (right), artists who are creating new pieces inspired by Dunhuang’s history for ARTiSTORY’s first Living Artists project. Images: courtesy of the artists

Aimed at bringing together living artists, brands, and museums to create IP merchandise, the program launches with a collaboration between Dunhuang Inspiration, an initiative by the Dunhuang Culture & Tourism Group, and contemporary artists Sveta Dorosheva and Laura Greenan.

The illustrators have created artworks inspired by Dunhuang, a meeting point for travelers on the Silk Road nearly 1,000 years ago. Dorosheva, best known for her narrative art, is creating canopies, murals, and flying images inspired by the region’s Mogao Caves, Greenan, whose illustrations are inspired by elements like 1960s culture and Art Deco, will be taking her cue from Dunhuang’s architecture and canopies for ARTiSTORY co-branded items. According to the agency, the first products from the program will be released next month.

Why it matters

Key to ARTiSTORY and Dunhuang Inspiration’s partnership is its global aspect, which will see Dunhuang’s IP licensed beyond China’s borders for the first time. Here, by linking up with the Ukrainian Dorosheva and London-based Greenan, the collaboration demonstrates exactly this international scope, extending Dunhuang’s IP reach worldwide and inviting global consumers to engage with Chinese culture through licensed products. 

The focus on living artists also further expands ARTiSTORY’s offer. Where museum products have largely been based on well-established and renowned names from Van Gogh to Basquiat, this program presents a fresher take on licensing, its launch tapping Dorosheva and Greenan’s existing popularity, while making Dunhuang’s cultural heritage more resonant and relevant to younger audiences.

What ARTiSTORY says

“This is a win-win for everyone. Artists get the opportunity to be associated with the world’s top museums, brands can provide consumers with access to their favorite artists via uniquely designed products endorsed by museums, and museums can engage new audiences, particularly a younger demographic who follow and support their favorite designers on social media.” — Alicia Chen, Country Manager (Singapore), ARTiSTORY


Jing Culture & Commerce