The Starving Artist’s Guide to Collecting Art

Art Collector by Geza Szontagh

If the art world were school would you have free or reduced lunch?  Being of less means may not provoke “J.J. Give Away” insults now that you’re all grown up and a serious art-liker.  However, the exclusion due to a meager income when it comes to collecting art can still sting a bit.  Take heart, though: a few opportunities have popped up around the bay allowing those in our modest tax bracket to be a patron of the arts.

Free Art Friday – St. Petersburg    Fri 5/04  all day

This one requires absolutely no budget, only an alert eye.  St. Pete’s Free Art Friday is part of a larger international idea allowing the production and collection of art to happen independent of the market.  While roaming the 600 Block of downtown St. Pete tomorrow, you may spot clandestine art.  Artists are hiding work through out the neighborhood to be picked up by anyone discovering it.  Much of the work should include the artists email address.  If you find a piece, reach out to its creator – it’s part of being a good arts patron.  Call it networking if you like.  While your hanging out on the 600 Block make sure to stop by our next destination.  Check out a Tampa Bay Times article on the event here.

Morean Arts Center – Blow Out Sale    Fri 5/04 – Sun 5/06

Morean Arts Center

St. Petersburg’s growing reputation as a glass arts destination already draws a number of collectors with a particular interest in this medium.  Morean Arts Center is featuring art at a price point that should allow you to join the party.  Work from Douglas Taylor Jr., Pauli Maiville and David Spurgeon will be sold for 50% off its normal price and all other glass art will be 10% off.  You should find the 600 Block pretty generous this weekend.  Check out the Facebook event page here.  Now we’ll head across the Bay

Tempus Projects – Spring Back: Art and Cocktails Community Drive    Wed 5/16  6pm-8:30pm

A patron of the arts and a philanthropist for a worthy cause – this event will probably give you the most feel-good for your dollar.  If you missed the related event at the CL Space, Tempus for The Spring, this is a sign!  There, art from some of Tampa Bay’s most exciting artists were starting at bids hundreds and at times thousands of dollars less than usual.  Spring Back is a second and scant opportunity to pick up art from some of our areas most potential laden artists at a working-class price.  Don’t forget the added impetus of lending a hand to The Spring of Hillsborough.  Check out the Facebook event page here.  Those are our opportunities for art buying on the cheap.  But you want to be an honest-to-goodness philanthropist?  I’ve got it covered.

Philanthropic Young Tampa Bay

Someday this generation of young people may be known as the Kickstarters.  With the 2008 economic downturn and perpetually sorry government funding of the arts, crowdsourcing may become the hallmark of modern philanthropy.  According to their site, PYT ” is a group dedicated to fostering cultural philanthropic involvement among the young professionals of Tampa Bay.”  Really, PYT realizes great ideas collectively.  You could have been involved with donating video art to the TMoA, or sponsor a Florida Orchestra Concert allowing everyone under 40 in for free.  You only have to shell out $50 to be a member – that’s about how much you pay for cable…every month!  Check out their site here.

Regardless of our income level, we each bear a measure of responsibility to promoting arts and culture in our communities.  Those of us with less only need to plan more – a well thought out plan can stretch a budget far enough to not only start an art collection but do everyone some good.

For tips on getting into area museums for free check out The Starving Artist’s Guide to Bay Area Museums

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