On the eve of the State of the Art exhibition, which will feature under-recognized artists from around the United States, we took the opportunity to introduce our young patrons to the world of art collecting. One Wednesday evening in July, nearly fifty artinfusion Members and friends ages 21-40s gathered first for networking and nosh at Eleven’s Culture Hour (I must note that the deconstructed blueberry cheesecake was a huge hit—kudos to Chef Lyle). Afterward, the group quieted the chatter and shifted focus to Crystal Bridges Curator Chad Alligood for a much-anticipated presentation about beginning an art collection on a budget.
An artinfusion Member himself, Chad’s energy and excitement for introducing his peers to the world of collecting is contagious. He understands the financial and time constraints of pursuing interests outside of one’s professional life, so that evening he made it easy for us to take that first small step into what can be a daunting endeavor.
“Buy for love, not money,” he passionately instructed, “and start small with prints—they are a great way to begin a collection without breaking the bank.” “But be careful,” he noted, “Not all prints are created equal.”
Chad explained the difference between prints, reproductions, and posters, as well as sharing a few tips on where to find great prints at affordable prices, including artist co-ops and student-run galleries.
“Artists selling their own art are more likely to negotiate prices because they really want to share their work with you,” he said.
The group was all ears: taking notes, asking questions, and participating in the conversation. Of course with Chad as the presenter, there was a hefty dose of laughter throughout.They also enjoyed an interactive activity: two minutes to flip through an auction catalogue and select works of art that grabbed them. “Don’t think, don’t judge, just pick,” Chad instructed. “What catches your eye?”
After the group chose their favorite art, they identified adjectives that best described the images: “vibrant,” “whimsical,” “expressive.” Many discovered that the same adjectives appeared again and again as they described the various images.
“Aha!” Chad exclaimed, “Now you have a sense of what you love—the first and most important step in starting an art collection.”
At the end of the evening, several artinfusion Members expressed how fun and informative the evening had been. “We didn’t even look at our phones ONCE!” they exclaimed.
Who knows? Perhaps the next big art collector is among our artinfusion Members! Happy collecting!