Saint John: Give ArtWritten by Kc Saint John | | SYLT@toledofreepress.com
What a great week to show those who are special in our lives that we care — gifts optional. If you are a “gifter,” you should give a gift that lasts. Chocolate and flowers are good for everyday gifts, not just special occasion gifts, and they don’t last. Step up your game. Give Art. It’s a gift that will give happiness long after the day fades and it won’t be just a memory.
If you don’t buy art on a regular basis, let me give you some tips on how to maximize your collection, how to spend minimum and how to support the artists just the same.
First thing: buy direct. If you like something that you see out and about or at a friend’s house, get the artist’s name and go to their website. Look and see what else they make — and then take a minute to e-mail them. Why not? This is not too bold of a move — it is a grand opportunity.
You want to buy direct and this is why: Galleries encourage artists to mark up their art to then mark up their take on the item, increasing the already inflated price an additional 40 to 60 percent more than what the artist will ever see. I am not saying boycott galleries. Definitely go to the opening and enjoy the food and atmosphere, meet the artist, but get a card knowing you are going to contact them directly.
The reason you want to do this, is now you can open that door and show them you are a real person interested in art, their art. You will find that your new artist friend is going to give you special treatment because you have taken your time to pursue them and their talents. And even if the artist marks up their price a little, you are saving quite a bit compared to the gallery price, the artist makes the same amount of money, and then you would have an original art piece by your friend, the artist.
Another recommendation on getting the most bang for your buck in buying art is to partake in auctions. Many organizations raise funds for their causes by having wonderful events with an opportunity to win donated art. The reason I encourage these events is that many of these pieces are one-of-a-kind, event-specific works. For example, the Arts Commission of Greater Toledo is having its amazing spring fundraiser on March 19. This event is called the Mix Vertical. It will take place on the 27th and 28th floor of One SeaGate, overlooking the entire city. There will be great food, live local music and an unrivaled silent auction. In this auction, there is an opportunity to pick up one-of-a-kind art from acclaimed visual artists Jack Schmidt and Phil Hazard. I have talked to other artists who are doing unique works specifically for this event, like Robin Schultes and Rebbeca Sweinhagen.
I am unveiling a new design called the Somnambulist at this event. The point is this, at an auction, your money goes to a good cause and your investment will usually have a higher return because first, these events are usually high profile, and second, you are picking up a one of a kind piece which commands more in the market. You can find out more on the ACGT’s Mix Vertical on its website, www.acgt.org or by calling 419-254-ARTS (2787).
It would be an injustice if I didn’t mention the Toledo Museum of Art. Our museum offers free events for all ages throughout every week. For example, my daughter made beads last Friday while I joined my dearest friends in the Cloister for a titillating jazz performance by the Murphys, all free. This next Friday, Cody F Nicely, a 2011 Niche Awards Finalist from Columbus, will be doing a free glassblowing demonstration with his advanced team from 7 to 10 p.m. in the Glass Pavilion.
This place is the hub for art in Northwest Ohio. Not only can you enjoy the priceless collection; in the TMA gift shop, you can take some home with you. Yes, it is has gallery pricing but this is one place you should not hesitate to spend your money. Thank Mr. and Mrs. Libby for their vision and contribution to the world of art and Toledo. We can enjoy all of this, everyday, for free. So paying full price at a world class museum for art is well worth the memory and experience that you encounter every time you walk through those marble hallways draped with blessing from the centuries. Now, go buy art and enjoy your city!
Kc Saint John is a glass artist and fire-breather who enjoys teaching and creating with a focus in glass. He works to develop talent and promote unity and information within the community. Kc owns Lost Peninsula Arts & Glass; a music/art school and gallery and manages The Glass Dojo, a collaborating artists’ group. Visit www.kcsaintjohn.com.