If you’ve outgrown Ikea’s poster collection and aren’t ready to mortgage your home for a painting, it’s time to visit an emerging art gallery.
To find New York City’s hottest venues for affordable art, I consulted local curator Krista Saunders. A veteran of Brooklyn’s emerging art scene, Saunders recently opened the Ground Floor Gallery in Park Slope to showcase up-and-coming talent and to encourage interaction between community members and artists.
With prices starting at $75, the following galleries, fairs and events are great places to start your art collection.
The Best Places to Start an Art Collection in NYC
#5. Visual AIDS
“Their annual Postcards from the Edge event is a phenomenal way to start or enhance a collection,” Saunders said of this Manhattan art sale traditionally held in January. Started in 1998, the affordable art exhibition features postcard-sized works by established and emerging artists– with a twist. The work is displayed without the names of the artists. “They are for sale for $75 each so, if you’re lucky, you’ll land a famous artist’s work for pennies,” Saunders noted. Even if you don’t snag a postcard by an A-list name, you’ll be helping a worthy cause: the organization is committed to fighting AIDS by provoking dialogue and supporting HIV-affected artists.
#4. NurtureArt Benefit
This Brooklyn-based non-profit supports emerging artists and curators year-round by providing exhibition opportunities, seminars and educational outreach programs. It also hosts an annual benefit showcasing work by emerging artists. “It’s a veritable buffet of excellent, original work by talents from NYC and beyond,” Saunders explained. “Guests pay $250 for admission for two people and an artwork they get to take home! It doesn’t get better than that.”
#3. Affordable Art Fair
The number of New York City art fairs continues to multiply each year, but if you can only hit one fair, Saunders advises you make it this one. This four-day event is the “the grandaddy of the affordable art movement,” according to Saunders. Their mission is simple: to bring affordable art to the masses. According to the fair’s website, “Our concept is simple, yet unique: an inspiring and friendly atmosphere in which you can find thousands of original paintings, prints, sculptures and photographs all under one roof, ranging from $100-$10,000, with more than half priced under $5,000.” The next Affordable Art Fair will be held October 3-6 2013, so make sure to clear your schedule and start saving for your art fund!
#2. Recession Art
This gallery in Cobble Hill, Brooklyn, exclusively shows affordable art and encourages price-sensitive consumers to connect with emerging artists. Low pricing does not mean low quality, however; Saunders notes the “high caliber of work” on offer at Recession Art. If you can’t venture to Brooklyn, you can purchase a print for as little as $25 from their online store. The organization is also expanding their support of local artists to include consulting services and networking events.
#1. Ground Floor Gallery
Ground Floor is the city’s newest entry in the affordable art scene, having just opened this spring with a group show featuring Brooklyn painter Lori Nelson. Only the second gallery to open in Park Slope, Ground Floor is located in an unassuming storefront flanked by brownstones. During a press preview I attended this April, curious neighbors stopped by to chat with the curator and artists on their way home from work. An enthusiastic local even purchased a painting and sculpture by Nelson before the gallery officially opened. While Park Slope lacks the hip factor of Bushwick, a street art haven, it’s home to a passionate group of art lovers. “We’re hoping that will help us stand out from the Brooklyn crowd,” curator Krista Saunders revealed as she described the neighborhood. She is seeking to build relationships with artists throughout the borough and is forging connections with studios in Gowanus, a hotbed of emerging artists.
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