Buying Art in Pittsburgh

Carrie Furnace by Carol Skinger

 Carrie Furnace by Carol Skinger

Price, dimensions & order form of my altered photograph of here

I was recently talking to a professor here in Pittsburgh who told me although they don’t have a lot of money to spend, they really would like to buy some original art. He is busy with his career and needs an idea where to start. He would love some advice.

I am writing this blog within my own website so of course he can look at the work I have on my site, and read back through some of my blog pieces. My next public event coming up is Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens May Market 2013 on May 10 and 11th. I will be outside with a bunch of other folks under a white tent. Then the 2013 y’ART Sale at Pittsburgh Center for the Arts is on June 23rd during the daylight hours, also outdoors. Then June 29, 2013 Saturday I will be exhibiting and selling small works at ARTday with PSA from 10AM-4PM at the Mine Factory 201 North Braddock Ave, Pittsburgh, PA
15208. This is in Homewood, just north of Forbes Ave, across from the East End
Food Co-op. There will be art demos, live music. Some of the art studios in the
building will be open to the public.

I always particpate in I Made it Market for the Holidays in early December which has really grown. I do various other events they sponser. If he is on facebook he can like their page. Or sign up for email notifications from them. He should also watch for Handmade Arcade.

My number one suggestion to the professor?  Go to art openings and go early.  If you see something you really like, right away find the person in charge so they can put a ‘sold’ sign or you may lose it. Many artists do not put a high price on their works of art, so do not go to an opening thinking everything is going to be over $1000. Just remember the artist typically gets half of what you are paying in this situation.

The professor’s question was one of those OHHH moments for me. It made me realize how many people are in that same position as he is! They like the idea of buying original art but the thought of a gallery visit with thousands of dollars per art piece is a barrier. Coming right to mind as a great way to find artists is the Pittsburgh Artist Registery.

There are some newer voices in town too who I am listening to: Treading Art is the region’s latest resource for cultural happenings in the city. Christine Smith and Melissa LuVisi moved to Pittsburgh after graduating from UCLA, where they met. They were drawn to our region’s thriving arts community and the city’s drive to redevelop and expand.

Their background in business development, museum administration and curatorial management is perfect for reaching out to the creative communities in the city. TreadingArt will highlight the scene, promote cultural happenings and post reviews, photographs, interviews, commentary and critiques.

Since I am an artist and very involved with the Pittsburgh art scene I forget that many of the people who artists would like to connect with have no idea how to see and buy art! And we have thousands more artists in Pittsburgh than can be represented by the traditionally run galleries here. But do visit those galleries by all means!

So I tried to put myself in his shoes and think what would help me to know, if I knew NOTHING about this at all. It would be good for him to know that photographer Rick Byerly does do a great job providing a BIG FAT list of galleries in Pittsburgh and the region. If you google “buying art in Pittsburgh” it is going to take you to his list. Rick lists all sorts of art blogs too.

How do you know when there are art openings? Make this your new habit! Pick up City Paper weekly on Thursday and read their Visual Arts listings. They have an online version too. Plan to go to some openings and exhibits.

If you already get ENOUGH email and/or social media ideas and invitations, sometimes a newspaper is the right choice. For more information about art openings and gallery crawls The Pittsburgh Post Gazette on Thursday, the Pittsburgh Tribune Review also on Thursday, are other weekly arts listings with art reviews.  They both can be found online as well.

Gallery Crawls are essential to seeing art. Here is one that happens every month” Penn Avenue Unblurred First Fridays.  What is it? Various galleries in the Penn Avenue Arts District (4800-5500 Penn Avenue) open their doors and showcase a variety of artwork and performances. The first Friday evening of each month.

The Cultural Trust offers a Gallery Crawl downtown  4x a year. Not to be missed!  2013 dates are January 25, April 26, July 12, September 28

And this is a MUST DO Art All Night in Lawrenceville! April 27th through 28th, 2013. Runs 4pm Saturday until 2pm Sunday (all night long). 97 40th Street in the Lawrenceville section of   Pittsburgh. You will see tons of art all night long.

Many but not all artists in Pittsburgh are members of art guilds and societies. Their art shows are very competitive to get into with amazing jurists and curators. The shows will be noted in the arts lisings in the papers I listed and they are worthwhile to go to. These are the names of the most groups that come to mind. Pittsburgh Society of Artists, Fiberarts Guild of PittsburghCraftsmen’s Guild of Pittsburgh, Women of Vision, Pittsburgh Watercolor Society, Associated Artists of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh Society of Sculptors, Pittsburgh Society of Illustrators

Well that WAS too much information! And I did not even list Three Rivers Arts Festival, Fair in the Park et al.

Oh yeah Wildcard has some great little shows and the stuff they sell is awesome! How could I forget the Shop at Pittsburgh Center for the Arts? I may never stop. I have enjoyed Paul Roden  and Valerie Lueth’s  woodcuts at their own enterprise TUGBOAT PRINTSHOP.