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Do You Need to Be Rich to Collect Art? Nope, Is the Answer – Broadsheet



A house with stuff on the walls is better – that’s just a fact. But figuring out what to buy and where to get it is not so obvious. Rhianna Walcott, who has more than 12 years of experience in the art world, says it’s not actually too hard if you follow a few easy guidelines.

Walcott is on the board of city-wide festival Art Month Sydney, which is happening from March 6 to 29 and is all about spotlighting homegrown talent and getting Sydneysiders into galleries. She is also the associate director of Rozelle’s Artereal Gallery, sits on the Young Ambassador Committee at the Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA) and on the Artistic Advisory Council for Milk Crate Theatre. She’s worked with the University of Sydney Art Collection and writes for contemporary art publications.

Here she offers her tips on how to become an art collector and debunks the two biggest myths of the art collecting world.

MYTH ONE: You need a lot of money to start an art collection
One of the biggest myths about art is that you have to be an exceptionally wealthy cultural connoisseur to collect it. Having worked in galleries for more than a decade, I can definitively bust that myth: you don’t need to be rich to buy art and you don’t need an art history degree.

How much do you actually need?
Your budget could be as small as $200 – there are some amazing pieces of contemporary art out there, you simply need to know a few insider tricks. Of course, you can pay up to $20,000 for a museum-quality piece by an established blue-chip artist. Or you can take a punt on an early-career artist and support them when it matters the most. Collecting on a budget might inspire you to decide to focus solely on one type of work. Works on paper or photography or ceramics are all affordable entry points into the art market, allowing you to build a beautiful and cohesive collection while also becoming an expert in a particular area that grabs your fancy.

So, you’ve decided you’re going to buy art. What now?
Start by visiting as many galleries as you can. Sydney has over 100, each with a distinct personality. Take note of which galleries appeal to you in terms of aesthetic and the artists they represent and pretty soon you’ll notice there are many specialising in work by emerging artists. Buying from these places allows you to play a vital role in supporting emerging talent at the crucial early stages of their career and also means you can collect their work at an accessible price.

When you do stumble across a gallery whose artists you love, introduce yourself. Contrary to popular belief, most gallerists are friendly and love any opportunity to talk about their artists. Let them know which artists you like and ask to be kept up to date with new works and upcoming exhibitions. Don’t be afraid to be upfront about your budget and any other parameters you are working within (for example any size limitations). Over time, this will allow you to work together to find the right pieces for your taste, budget and collection.

Some galleries and events to help with your hunt
When it comes to the next generation of artists, Artereal Gallery, Galerie pompom, Woolloomooloo’s Jerico Contemporary and COMA Gallery are all great places to begin. You could head to the National Art School’s end of year grad show and pick up a piece from one of their recently graduated bright young things. Alternately, pay a visit to 4a Centre for Contemporary Asian Art during their annual 4A A4 fundraiser, which typically includes over 100 unique artworks by a mix of leading international artists and homegrown emerging talent – all A4 in size and priced at $200. Sydney’s oldest artist-run space, Firstdraft, has an annual fundraising event that is another favourite for collectors interested in collecting emerging art.

There’s a solution for when you fall in love with a piece and the price is just out of reach
Art Money is an Australian startup that allows you to visit a gallery, put down a 10 per cent deposit, take the artwork home then and there, and pay off the remaining balance over 10 months, interest free. Suddenly that $1500 artwork doesn’t seem so out of reach when you pay it off $150 per month. I mean, you probably regularly spend that amount on a big night out without thinking twice about it.

When you find the piece, act fast
When you see the right artwork, a piece that captivates you, intrigues you and gets you excited, act decisively. If it’s an editioned photograph, print or video work then maybe you can afford to take your time and mull it over. But if it’s a unique artwork like a painting or a sculpture, and especially if it is an affordable piece by an exciting new emerging artist, you need to trust your instincts and act fast. Always buy what you love and don’t be swayed by trends or promises of a future financial return.

MYTH TWO: Galleries are cold, elitist white cubes filled with expensive and confusing contemporary art you won’t be able to understand or afford.
I grew up in Tamworth (which boasts very few art galleries) and my first few experiences visiting galleries in Sydney were definitely shaped by this belief. Even as an art history student, I often felt out of place, uncomfortable and intimidated, and I worried the gallery staff would be dismissive. Then I started working in the art world and I realised that people might think the same about me – that I was operating in some clandestine world in which they were not welcome. But it’s not like that.

Remember, galleries want you to come in and look at art, no matter what.
If there is one thing I want you to understand and remember about art galleries, it is this: they exist as a space for looking at art. As a gallerist, there is nothing worse than having to tell an artist you’ve had a quiet Saturday without many visitors. Gallerists open art galleries because they want to share art with the world. Artists make art because they want it to be seen. Not only are you welcome, you are a crucial part of the equation, regardless of whether you are buying.

What role do big art institutions play, compared with smaller, artist-run and commercial spaces?
The art world is an ecosystem. Our local institutions are already well recognised for the exceptional job they do – the MCA announced last year it is the most visited contemporary art museum in the world, with over a million visitors annually since 2015.

But the smaller, privately-owned, commercial art galleries and artist-run spaces in Sydney also play a vital role. These galleries are the lifeblood of the art industry and a direct conduit between artists and the general public. This is where artists test new ideas and exhibit new artworks; where artworks first enter public consciousness and get noticed by curators who acquire and exhibit these works in our public institutions. They help artists by selling their work, introducing it to new audiences and having conversations around it.

And how about Art Month Sydney – how can it help me find art?
Held every March, Art Month Sydney is a good way to begin exploring galleries and artists. Pick a Friday night and head to one of the festival’s Art at Night events. These are one of the few nights a year that the city’s best galleries are all open late at the same time. It’s a fun and easy way to dip your toe in. It was founded in 2010 with the objective of breaking down perceived barriers and making the art world a more inclusive and welcoming place. And based on what I have seen, it seems to be working.

Art Month Sydney also runs a program of talks on collecting art, (including tips for beginners and how to buy at an art auction) and present an annual exhibition Collectors Space that showcases the private collections of some of Sydney’s most enviable art collectors.

Art Month Sydney happens across the city from March 6 to 29.

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Memorial University to Unveil Street Art Wall at St. John's Campus – VOCM



Memorial University is unveiling a legal street art wall at their St. John’s campus.

The launch for the street wall will take place tomorrow from 1 to 2 p.m.

The wall, located on the east side of the campus near MUN Daycare, is open to all artists of all levels of skill. Between sunrise and sunset, artists can tag and paint the wall any day of the week.

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Nature is an Artist explores relationship betwee art and nature –



Nature is an Artist

Nature is an Artist was released last week and is available wherever books are sold. 

by Stephen Dafoe

Sturgeon County’s intergovernmental advisor Jennifer Lavallee has published her first children’s picture book. 

Vancouver’s Greystone Books released Nature is an Artist, written by Lavallee and illustrated by Argentinian artist Natalia Colombo, on May 17.

The book looks at the various art forms children can find in the natural world surrounding them and follows a group of children exploring nature and discovering an art show in front of them. They are inspired to create works of art, recreating what they have seen in nature. 

Although Nature is an Artist is Lavallee’s first published picture book, it is far from her first published work. The author has previously written articles for local newspapers and magazines, including Morinville Online. She has also written for national publications and many of Lavallee’s short stories have appeared in anthologies. 

“Those have been more adult-focused stories, Lavallee said of her short story work. “This is my first professional publication in the world of children’s literature,” and that is where I am focusing all my efforts. That’s really where my passion is.”

Lavallee explained that when she was trying to determine the direction of her writing, it dawned on her that children’s writing was a great pairing to where her interests were.

“I’m an adult, but I still read middle-grade books and YA [young adult] and that kind of literature,” she said. “So it just kind of clicked – yeah, I should be focusing my attention here.”

Lavallee recently spent the day at École Morinville Public School reading her new book to students. Children were surprised to learn that an adult enjoyed books written for children. 

“I said absolutely I do because I think there is something so very special about pairing really beautiful illustrations [with words],” Lavallee said. “When you look at illustrations in picture books, you can find some really special artwork. Pairing that with beautiful text; it reminds me of magic, kind of, and it’s almost like comfort food.”

Lavallee said she has always been someone who loves fairy tales and someone who loves to watch classic children’s movies over and over again. Films like the adaptation of William Golden’s Princess Bride, Hook and Peter Pan have helped form her current writing path. 

“I’ve always just been in that space,” she said of her interests and the types of books she wants to write, paraphrasing author Toni Morrison’s quotation – ‘If there’s a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.’  

But writing a children’s book is challenging for the mother of three, balancing full-time employment with Sturgeon County, completing graduate school, and taking care of her family. 

From the initial idea in the author’s mind, writing the manuscript, then being able to drive to Chapters and take the book off the shelf, was a four-year journey.

“It takes a long time. There are not even 500 words in here,” Lavallee said of the new book, adding that just finalizing the text with the publisher is a lengthy process. “It has to be exactly right, and the thing about this book is it’s a rhyming book. Not only do you have to find the right words, but the right rhyming words to match the story you are trying to tell. It was about a year to finalize the text.”

Working with Buenos Aires-based illustrator Natalia Colombo was also an exciting experience for Lavallee, which also took a year. 

“This is her twenty-third book, so that was a neat experience. Most people think I drew the pictures, but I wish I could draw,” Lavallee laughed. “The illustrations are what makes picture books pop, and I’m so pleased with how it came out. It’s very bright and cheerful.”

Great art is significant for Lavallee’s book, which is about the artistic beauty found in nature.

“You can go into nature and see things that are like fine works of art,” Lavallee said. “A sunset is like a beautiful painting, or a rainbow is like stained glass. The point of it is to inspire young readers to see themselves as artists, but in the context of also having respect for nature, and wanting to get out into the environment and the natural world. It’s the pairing of those two.”

Lavallee said Nature is an Artist is perfectly aligned to the existing curriculum, lending itself to simple crafts based on the content of the book. 

“Some of those things that you need to learn in the younger years about artistic styles are all interwoven into the story,” Lavallee explained. 

The author worked with the publisher to create some free downloadable companion guides to the book for parents and teachers. 

Nature is an Artist is available wherever books are sold, including Chapters and Amazon. It retails for $22.95 per copy.

Lavallee has written a sequel to the new book and hopes to see it published in the future. She is also working on a longer chapter book aimed at middle grades. 

The author is also doing workshops at the upcoming St. Albert Children’s Festival.

Click here for more local news
Click here to visit author’s website

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Contest open to young artists; art grads needed more than ever – SooToday



Art students in Grades 6, 7 and 8 are invited to submit samples of their work to be included in a separate exhibition and contest within the annual St. Mary’s College art show to be held at the Second Line East high school beginning at 7 p.m. Tuesday, June 14.

Students have until 3 p.m. Thursday, June 9 to submit their drawings, painting or digital art work with their identification and contact information in person at SMC’s main office.

While the SMC art show is an annual event – featuring work by artists from Grades 9 to 12 and including not only visual art but also musical and dance performances in one night – this year marks the first show and contest for students in Grades 6 to 8.

The contest is the brainchild of Adriano DiCerbo, SMC art teacher and Samantha Lance, an SMC graduate now pursuing a career as an art show curator in Toronto.

“Adriano approached me with this idea. He wanted to get the ball rolling on this and try to attract kids’ attention to this. We came up with the title Spring Back To Life, to get students to think about what inspires you about this new season?” Lance said.

That includes:

  • What images of spring best represent your personal connection to this season?
  • What moments of spring do you cherish?
  • Are there certain aspects of spring (flowers, plants, landscapes, animals) that hold a special place in your heart?

The contest poster has been designed and will be sent out soon to parents and teachers across the H-SCDSB system.

DiCerbo hopes word will get out to art students in Grades 6 to 8 students in other school boards.

Students and parents can contact DiCerbo by email

Lance will judge the Grades 6 to 8 art show.

“I first got immersed in visual arts in Grade 10 with Mr. DiCerbo’s class and then I started helping with the arts festivals from Grade 10 to 12 and I realized, while curating the work, that art is what I wanted to do as a career,” Lance said.

Lance graduated from SMC in 2017 and went on to study art for four years at Toronto’s Ontario College of Art & Design – OCAD University. 

There she earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts, specializing in Criticism and Curatorial Practice, learning how to organize art shows at galleries, museums, art shows and festivals. 

She plans to attend the University of Toronto in September to begin a Master of Curatorial Studies program.

At OCAD, she was inspired by the work of many artists including Vincent Van Gogh, American photographer Nicolas Bruno and Christian painter Akiane Kramarik.

“After I graduated from high school I came back to help curate the arts festival at SMC. Every year it was nice to see the work and the talent students brought to the table,” Lance said.

“I appreciate art history and love looking at the different types of media people bring into their art. When I go for my Masters in Toronto I want to support local, national and international artists by showcasing their art,” Lance said, adding she’ll always enjoy keeping in touch with the Sault arts scene.

Admission to the June 14 SMC art show is free for kids, $10 for adults.

Proceeds from admission go to Tumaini Afrika, a Sault Ste. Marie-based, non-registered group of volunteers dedicated to working with children and women in Kenya in such spheres as education and nutrition.

“After COVID, everybody needs this art show,” Lance said.

Both Lance and her high school art mentor DiCerbo spoke of the importance of art and art education for kids despite the heavy emphasis on science, technology, engineering and math in schools.

“Art speaks when words can’t,” Lance said.

“Art gives anyone – students, young and old – to speak about their background, their culture and their response to everything that’s happening in the world in their own way, it gives them that freedom to do that. That’s so critical, to express yourself, and to have that confidence.”

As for exposing younger students to art at an early age, Lance smiled “if we nurture this at the beginning in younger students we could be fostering the next Monet or Van Gogh.”

“I believe in having a well-rounded education. Yes, science and math, but the arts as well,” DiCerbo said.

“That enables students to have creative skills, critical thinking skills and they need those opportunities to be self expressive. It’s an incredibly valuable skill for the 21st Century, more than we realize. It helps us to connect with nature and each other. An arts festival is a celebration of when we come together and celebrate creativity.”

“There are jobs out there for creative people,” DiCerbo said.

“They’re just not as visible as the teacher, the doctor, the dentist. There are so many creative people behind the scenes working in traditional and digital media, architectural studies, the business world needs creative thinkers. They’re needed.”

“Imagine Paris without the Eiffel Tower. What if the Mona Lisa vanished? It’s priceless. These are iconic pieces of art that help define who we are. The Group of Seven helps define who we are. Filmmakers, musicians give us a sense of identity and belonging. How can we possibly take that out of our world? We need more of that particularly during these times more than ever before,” DiCerbo said.

“Hopefully we get a lot of submissions,” Lance said.

“We’re not expecting students to donate a huge painting or drawing, but it’ll be exciting to see what comes in.”

Lance said she hopes it will be an encouragement for kids to start building a portfolio and consider a career in art.

It’s late in the school year but kids can submit work they’ve done earlier in the current school year.

Prizes of $100, $75 and $50 will be awarded to first, second and third place winners in the Grade 6-8 show and competition.

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