I'm an art lover and every spring I look forward to Art-a-whirl, which is a local three day event in North East Minneapolis' art district which highlights local artists. During this event, participating artists all over the art district, open up their studios to the public to show case all of their hard work and hopefully sell some of their pieces. It's amazing, fun, interesting, and somewhat frustrating all at the same time. It's fun to walk around and see the work of over one-hundred different artists and it's amazing to see what they are able to create and the pure creativity at play. It's also fun to talk with the different artists and ask questions of them about their work and inspirations.
The frustrating part comes in what many are willing to charge for their pieces. I get it, these artists need to pay bills and rent their studio space which can get very expensive. But it's hard and not very feasible to expect the average person or blue color worker to pay upwards of four-hundred dollars and even several thousand for a lot of these pieces. As I said, I respect the time artists put into their work, I'm not a professional, I paint as a hobby and it's taken me weeks sometimes to finish some of my work. I also understand that their materials come at a premium, but I feel if their work was made more accessible financially to the average person and not just for the art collector who makes over one-hundred thousand dollars a year, they would see more product go and I really think the general public would become more interested in the work of local talent besides waiting until art festivals and treating the work and the festivals as novel events to attend several times a year. I respect many different types of art, I love it all. I also have a hard time coming to grips to pay hundreds or thousands of dollars for a piece no matter how difficult it was to make. I also know the rules of capitalism such as supply and demand or the fact that items are only worth what someone is willing to pay. You can put hundreds of hours and hundreds of dollars into a piece but if no one is willing to pay more than ten dollars for you work, then besides the enourmous sentimental value that it holds to the artist, monetarily it's only worth a few bucks to these patrons.
If you lure your customers and constituents with consistent prices that fit their budget, you build more interest and repeat customers. By only appealing to those who are apart of a drastically shrinking upper middle class or the wealthy collector who typically strays away from local artists for more chique well known artists, it robs everyone of the awesome creativity, effort, and the experience to support local artists through more than just viewing showcase events. I believe whole heartedly in supporting local art and the "starving artists". I think art needs to be highlighted more in our communities and schools. I believe the only way to do this is through making it more accessible financially and visibly. Hopefully in the near future we can get this access through more local showcases and more affordable art. So if there's any artists out there reading this, it would be great if you could meet us more budget strapped partons where we are financially so we can support you better.