How to Curate a County Art Collection 🎨
It’s been said that art is everywhere in The County. There’s no shortage of public galleries and studios in which to view and purchase a wide variety art. But how do you begin a collection? We asked the experts at Oeno Gallery, Sybil Frank Gallery and Hatch Gallery for their insight.
Here’s what they had to say.
Please note that during the COVID-19 pandemic, there are currently advisories and/or restrictions on travel to Prince Edward County. Please see our COVID-19 Essential Info page for the latest updates. Luckily, you can enjoy and even acquire a slice of Prince Edward County by visiting the galleries, exhibitions and events online through the links provided.
Collect what you love
You will see it in your home every day. What type of art makes your heart sing? Do you favour Corot or Picasso? Are you excited by realism or abstraction? For Craig Alexander, owner of The Sybil Frank Gallery in Wellington, the main thing to think about when purchasing a piece of art is longevity. Will you still love it in a year or two? You don’t want to purchase a piece of art that you’ll tire of. He adds: “Art should evoke an emotion of some sort. There should be a connection with the piece, something that makes you smile, or evokes wonderful memories.”
Consult with experts
Once you have decided on a style you’d love to live with, don’t be afraid to talk to art dealers and gallery owners, who can help you find works to suit you and your budget. “A good gallerist will be able to help you develop your eye and your preferences,” says David Hatch of Hatch Gallery in Bloomfield. “Ask a pile of questions; a good dealer will happily take the time to answer.” Carlyn Moulton of Oeno Gallery in Bloomfield agrees. “Take advantage of the knowledge that private dealers have – typically we share our expertise with collectors freely and can help to find the desired works.”
Deciding on a budget
Is your art simply a beautiful addition to your home, or are you purchasing as an investment? Will you be allocating an annual budget for art investment with a view to creating a significant portfolio? Perhaps you are more interested in buying with serendipity as a guide, collecting art as it crosses your path. You don’t need pots of money to begin, there is a piece of art for every budget. And keep in mind that if you fall in love with something that completely blows your budget, many galleries and individual artists are more than willing to work out a payment plan.
Change it up
Carlyn Moulton advises that it’s okay to “trade up.” Your collection can be refined by investing in better pieces or becoming more focused on a style or particular artist. “Building an art collection can be a very rewarding experience as collectors engage with artists, art dealers and other collectors. If the art is chosen carefully from artists with a reputation and track record, it can appreciate significantly,” she adds.
Art as investment
Hatch says that when it comes to paintings, “there are works that are known to be just like blue chip stocks. They will always hold their value and in most cases, they will go up over time. But this can also happen with emerging and mid-career artists too.” Sue Holland, a long-time County resident and curator of the Belleville Library’s Parrott Gallery, advises that anything of value will need an appraisal for insurance purposes, and you will need an insurer who has fine art policies.
If you are collecting for investment purposes you should also be aware that certain tax benefits are available should you decide in the future to donate your art to a museum or gallery. But there are strict rules, notes Green Point resident and Certified Financial Planner Randy Holt. Verifiable Canadian art work donated receives a 100 per cent estate tax deduction subject to caveats including a certifiable art evaluation by a recognized source. “My grandmother said this was painted by Tom Thompson,” just won’t wash with the CRA. “You need the provenance if the deduction is challenged, and they DO challenge,” he says.
Many studies have shown that living with art can reduce stress and create a sense of well-being. It can inspire and energize, and spark conversation. What better reason to trust your gut and go out and buy what you love? The Art in the County exhibition, PEC Studio Tour and galleries of Prince Edward County are a great place to start!
Visit the Prince Edward County Arts Council for more information about artists living and creating in The County.
By Susan Hierlihy. (updated April 2021)