Atoll is bringing art ownership to the masses: From Dadeland Mall to the world

 ​By Riley Kaminer

The art world – a $65 billion market – is an elitist industry reserved for the very few who can afford to collect at scale. 

Is that true? Well, it certainly might feel that way if you’ve ever tried touring Art Basel with a general admissions ticket once much of the art has already been sold.

The good news for us, the 99%, is that smart minds are rethinking the art industry model. And one of them has just landed in South Florida.

In September 2022, Dania Beach-based entrepreneur Roman Levitskiy began working on Atoll, a startup that ultimately aims to bring a more diverse community into the world of art ownership.

“The vast majority of the art market is dominated by just around 100,000 collectors,” he told Refresh Miami. “And that’s in a world of eight billion people.”

Roman Levitskiy co-founded Atoll. At top of post, an Atoll art exhibit at Dadeland Mall.

Part of the issue, in Levitskiy’s estimation, is the way in which art is sold. He lamented that galleries are too often sitting empty – full of art with no one to appreciate it. Part of the reason why he thinks this is the case is because these gallery spaces seem unapproachable for mainstream consumers. 

“Visiting a gallery can be very intimidating,” he asserted. “Imagine having to admit to an employee that you’re not wealthy enough to own the gallery’s art. It’s very rare that people enjoy gallery visits.”

The exact opposite of these empty galleries? Packed shopping malls. Aventura alone sees 180,000 mall visitors every week. 

That’s when a stroke of genius hit Levitskiy. Why not bring art to where people already are?

“I want to build the radio for fine arts,” said Levitskiy. With music, it is possible for billions of people to (almost) freely listen and explore what they like. “With fine art, we have museums – which people love but are still kind of expensive. I want to convert crowded venues into fine art museums at no cost to those venues and a potential for sharing revenue.”

This thought process culminated last month in the first launch of a mini, tech-enabled gallery space deployed directly inside Dadeland Mall. On top of showing a few emblematic art pieces, the installation includes a screen where passersby can learn more about the artist. Attached sensors can see exactly how many people are interacting with the exhibit. The Atoll team is even building a neural network that will be able to discern which pieces of artwork are getting the most attention.

Levitskiy’s background is primarily in marketing, having built and scaled a creative agency in Russia that now has around eighty employees. He also co-founded Uber/Lyft competitor Fasten, which was sold to a major Russian rideshare company. While he has been going back and forth between Russia and the States for years, he decided to make South Florida his permanent home in August 2021.

Atoll’s core team of five also includes co-founder and CTO Daniel Golovizin and CMO Oksana Kadoshnikova. The company has been bootstrapped thus far, but Levitskiy signaled that it is planning to raise some funds in the near future.

“I know that collectors don’t grow on trees, so it’s a question on how to convert people into collectors,” he said, noting that Atoll’s platform will also provide lesser-known artists with an additional revenue stream, including through prints Atoll sells. “Who wouldn’t want to touch and own something beautiful?”


Riley Kaminer