11/27/2012 01:43 pm ET Updated Jan 26, 2013

Why It's Tricky To Monetize Your Art

NBNY navigates art and commerce with a light touch.

Light, as you may remember from physics class, is both a wave and a particle. Outside of the natural world, however, it's not quite as easy to occupy dual roles -- after all, for every successful actor-singer, there's a David Hasselhoff.

For Meatpacking-based startup Nuit Blanche New York trying to navigate the worlds of both art and business is similarly tricky. "We're trying to define our future identity as a company," Creative Director Ken Farmer told us. "We started out very much as a DIY arts event organization... but now the question is how can we maintain a commitment to art and artists, and [also] monetize."

Founded in 2010, the company designs and produces light and sound installations. Bring to Light, their inaugural event, a free public art festival held at the Greenpoint waterfront, attracted over 10,000 attendees in 2010. Since then, NBNY has thrown "Bring to Light" annually, opened a venue, and collaborated with the New Museum and others.

"In trying to get our festival sponsored, we've learned the first conversations will often be about how big the [corporate] logo can be," NBNY's Executive Director Ethan Vogt said. "Our hope is to be part of a vision for advertising that creates public access to new spaces, and experiences that come from [art]."

NBNY employs a team of four full time, but scales up to 65 when a project demands it. Check out their full portfolio of work here.

Now go forth (and light it up).

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