57th Street Art Fair: Art Buying Boot Camp

May 28, 2013 (CHICAGO)

The "Art Buying Boot Camp" also offers help to art rookies learn the ins and outs of art buying and now to navigate through an art fair.

WHEN: Open to the public on Saturday, June 1 (11:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.) & Sunday, June 2 (10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.).

WHERE: The 57th Street Art Fair takes place on 57th Street in Chicago's historic Hyde Park Neighborhood. Public transportation options – Metra station at 57th St. or the CTA bus 6 or 28 at Stoney Island and 57th St., 173 Lakeview Express and the 192 from the downtown trains. Parking is available at 55th and at the Midway Plasiance parking facility between Dorchester and Ellis. Boot Camp participants will meet at the information booth at 56th and Kimbark Avenue.


Art Buying Do's:

  • Attend the free art fairs.
  • Attend some of the early season fairs when you'll see the artists' best work before it gets bought up by others.
  • Use the Internet to preview art. Go to the 57th Street Art Fair www.57thstreetartfair.org/ you can click on "Art Browser" to preview the artist's work before you go to the fair. You can make great use of your time at the Fair with a list of artists you want to visit.
  • Try shopping at an art fair instead of a gallery
  • An art fair presents a lot of different art mediums
  • Art fair finds can offer good deals because you don't have to pay commission to a gallery
  • You almost always get to talk directly with the artist about what inspires their pieces—that can help you connect more with the piece of art you have in your home
  • Determine your budget range and bring only that amount in cash with you to the Fair
  • Photos, prints and watercolors tend to be less expensive than oil paintings
  • Small pieces can make a big statement too—if you buy a small piece you can get creative with matting and framing to create a larger piece.
  • Take into consideration what you're buying. There's a difference between decorative art and fine art. With decorative art, which includes posters and prints, there's some negotiating room depending on how the customer is purchasing.
  • Any price adjustment is dependant on the artist and will vary from both to booth.
  • Occasionally the artist will allow for a modest discount with a simple request.
  • Be reasonable with your negotiating, remember artist make their living on selling their work, don't put the integrity of the piece at risk by low-balling your offer.
  • Go with your instinct—if you love it and it's in your price range, buy it.

Art Buying Don'ts

  • Never negotiate the price of an item that you do not intend on buying.
  • Don't be nervous about the process—The more opportunities you have to buy art, the more expert you will become and the less intimidated you will be.
  • Don't let others influence you—this is one time that shopping with friends may not be helpful unless you know that your friend understands and respects your sense of style and taste. Art buying is a personal taste.
  • Don't think you have to know which room or particular wall space to fill before you purchase a piece of art. Keep in mind that a small piece can be hung anywhere but a large piece of art is a larger commitment; you need to already have or be able to find a suitable place for it.

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